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5 potential knock-on effects of Manchester City’s UEFA ban that could change football in a big way

Man City

Manchester City return to Champions League action against Real Madrid this week, in what could be their last foray into Europe's elite club competition for several years.

The club were thrown into turmoil earlier this month after they were handed a ban from European football for two seasons by UEFA.

The European governing board for football sanctioned the club after it breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations by allegedly overspending in their development of their very large and talented squad of players. 

City have appealed against the ban which could change the course of their European fate – and of the way football develops over the coming years. Here's five things that their ban could mean...

England become weaker

While England have been progressing well under Gareth Southgate in recent years, there’s no doubt that Pep Guardiola’s influence on English football has benefited the national team. 

The Spanish manager’s style of play has not just improved the standard of quality in the Premier League but clubs in lower divisions have started to pick up certain parts of Guardiola’s philosophy. 

The Manchester City managed has also taken certain England internationals at Manchester City - namely Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and John Stones - and developed their game to make them effective for both club and country. 

Yet with City’s ban from Europe coming with these players in the prime of their career, it could cause their links with Guardiola to break off through trying to go off and find a new challenge while playing for a team in Europe’s top club competition. 

Take Sterling as the prime example of Guardiola’s influence. Before the coach’s arrival at City, Sterling had just come out of a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign with many questioning whether he was ready - or perhaps even not good enough - to start in England’s attack. 

However, following Guardiola’s appointment, Sterling has hit double figures in all competitions in each of the last four seasons and is now one of Southgate’s key players ahead of a crucial European Championships this summer. 

Should either Guardiola or Sterling - alongside Stones, Walker or City academy product Phil Foden - leave Manchester City, then Southgate risks losing an important ally in the development of some of England’s core players in the years to come. 

Liverpool dominate the 2020s unrivalled

We know, we know, they've not even won their first Premier League title yet.

But one major beneficiary of City’s ban is likely to be Liverpool, who have been jostling with Guardiola's side for supremacy in England over the past couple of years. 

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are currently dominating the Premier League this season, and could wrap up the title within weeks.

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If City end up being weakened by the loss of Champions League football, then it would widen the gap between Liverpool and the rest of the Premier League and lessen the competitive edge in England’s top-flight.

The league's other big sides Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur look miles away from competing with Liverpool at present, while an argument for Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers or even Sheffield United being able to keep up with Klopp’s side feels far-fetched.

This could not only damage the reputation of the Premier League, which is perceived as one of the most competitive leagues in the world, but the decrease in competition could also have an effect on the England side.

Just how can we determine the quality of English players in the Premier League when one team could lie so far ahead then the rest of the pack?

Football League promotion and relegation gets messed about

If City continue to be found guilty of FFP regulations - and their ban remains in place - then the Premier League could come in to enforce domestic sanctions on the club. Some of the possible disciplinary measures are pretty severe.

Punishments range from large fines, points deductions and even relegation to League Two. If it ends up being the latter – which, despite seeming enormously unrealistic, has been discussed – then how would City’s relegation impact the Football League pyramid?

Could four teams be promoted from the Championship and League One next season, with five teams achieving promotion from League Two to accommodate City’s introduction into the fourth tier? Even a plummet to the second tier – again, far harsher than most expectations – would cause a logistical headache.

These are currently unanswered questions, but it does point to how far-reaching the effects of the sanctions could be.

New Premier League champions

Another potential punishment that the Premier League could enforce is that City are stripped of their recent Premier League triumphs.

Roberto Mancini's City won their first Premier League title in 2012 before adding their second under Manuel Pellegrini two years later. Guardiola’s side then won back-to-back top-flight titles in 2018 and 2019. 

If some of City’s recent title wins are taken off them in the coming months, then it will be of interest to Manchester United and Liverpool, who finished in second place during those latter two league seasons. 

PSG receive sanctions

City aren’t the only major team in Europe being targeted by other clubs for overspending and breaching FFP laws. The Premier League club’s ban could spark UEFA to review French club Paris Saint-Germain’s spending in recent years.

PSG have been responsible for two of the most expensive transfers of all-time in their moves for attackers Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, and UEFA tried to reopen investigations into the club’s spending in 2018. 

The Ligue 1 side won their appeal against the investigation a year later, but were reportedly urged to sell three players by UEFA in order to balance the books. 

With UEFA appearing to clamp down on any breaches of FFP by Europe’s elite, it may not be long until another attempt to open disciplinary proceedings against PSG comes to being.

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