With the dust still settling on UEFA’s verdict and their application of the Manchester City European ban, everyone is asking themselves what happens next. It is a question that applies to matters both on and off the pitch.
Away from the Etihad, there is no doubt that City’s legal team will now have to earn their money. They will hope that, if the punishment is not overturned, then at least it is reduced to nothing more than a financial slap on the wrist.
While regarding matters on the field of play, the seismic shock of the Manchester City European ban will not only be felt by Pep Guardiola and his players but also a whole host of Premier League teams. With fifth place potentially becoming the new fourth, the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League has been blown wide open.
Of course, City will take no joy from the fact that several of their top-flight rivals have been given a European lifeline and they will be hoping that the expected lengthy appeal process sees them absolved of any wrongdoing.
However, if the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) do decide to uphold the punishment handed out by UEFA, particularly the Manchester City European ban rather than the accompanying fine, the immediate ramifications for Manchester City will be huge and it could quickly see the crumbling of their empire.
That’s because with the prospect of two years away from Europe’s premier club competition, stars such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling will be tempted to ply their trade elsewhere and, to be honest, you could hardly blame them for doing so.
If the ban is halved to just a year, the likelihood of the duo and many of their teammates departing will in turn decrease. Although, even before a final verdict is handed out, there will undoubtedly be some tense conversations with agents behind the scenes.
In public, the message coming out of the dressing room is one where everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. In private, the club’s owners know it will incredibly difficult to keep hold of key names, should they no longer be able to compete with the continent’s elite.
It is not just the future of the players that is up in the air as a result of the Manchester City European ban. Pep Guardiola will now be the number one managerial target for several chairman and, although the Spaniard has publicly said he is going nowhere, would a call from Juventus or PSG to be too tempting to turn down?
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has recently stated that he would manage Manchester City even if they were in League Two and should they have to serve a European punishment, a potential domestic one will not be far behind.
That’s because if the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules have been broken, according to UEFA, the Premier League will then have to make their own decision on a punishment. With the rules closely linked between the two governing bodies, there is the prospect of a double punishment being served.
Should that be the case, there are a litany of potential rulings could be handed out on a domestic level and they could range from anywhere between stripping of previous league titles, a points deduction or even relegation.
With that said, the prospect of City playing Crawley Town in League Two next season is probably a bit far-fetched. Therefore, supporters of other Premier League clubs who have been celebrating City’s potential demise, may be a bit too quick in doing soon.
One must remember that at present all of this is conjecture. Until we do get a ruling on the Manchester City European ban (or one that suits City anyway) then the ‘what if’s’ are only going to continue. Frankly if City don’t get a ruling that suits them, they will just take matters to another court.
If it’s not CAS that finds in their favour, it will be the Swiss Courts. If not them, it will go to the European courts. A potential scenario, that could see a very drawn out process and one that also drags into next season.
Should that prove to be the case, what happens to the allocation of English entries into next season’s Champions League and more importantly, what happens if Manchester City finally land the holy grail and win the competition in a few months?
Would that mean the 2020 winners of the competition have an asterisk next to their name? What happens to the next hosting of the UEFA Super Cup and the two teams that are scheduled to compete for it?
If CAS do find in City’s favour, it is a scenario that plays out relatively quickly. Should that prove to be the case, UEFA will go back to Switzerland with their tail firmly between their legs. While if CAS find against, the Manchester City European ban will only be the first chapter in what could turn out to be a very long story.
If the Manchester City European ban is upheld, they might be forced to start using their academy more. Here are our top ten academies in the world.