London (AFP) – Manchester City will be banned by FIFA from making signings in the next two transfer windows after they broke rules related to the protection of youth players and third-party ownership, according to a report in the Sun newspaper.
The club are already being investigated by the Football Association and Premier League over allegations related to youth transfers and financial fair play rules.
European football’s governing body UEFA is also looking into potential breaches of financial fair play, an investigation that could result in City being banned from the Champions League.
A transfer ban for the Premier League champions would come less than a month after Chelsea were hit with the same sanction for 29 breaches of article 19 of FIFA’s regulations on the transfer and status of players.
The west London club have already lodged an appeal against that punishment but were told by world governing body FIFA last week that the sanction would not be frozen while the case is being reviewed, as Chelsea had hoped.
FIFA has been investigating City’s international transfers for several years, although the club were cleared of breaking the rules when they signed Benjamin Garre from Velez Sarsfield in 2016 just after the Argentine midfielder’s 16th birthday.
According to the Sun report, FIFA believes City have crossed the line, though, in regards to their relationship with FC Nordsjaelland and the Right To Dream football academy in Ghana that is also owned by the Danish side’s president, Tom Vernon.
Last year, two players from the academy, Sierra Leone’s George Davies and Ghanaian Dominic Oduro, told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that they signed for City and played in youth matches before they turned 18.
Both have since left City — Davies now plays in Latvia and Oduro in the United States — but FIFA has been investigating their time with the English club.
And that investigation was broadened later in 2018 when a second Danish newspaper, Politiken, published a story that said City had a secret deal with Vernon to have first refusal on the best prospects from Right to Dream.
If true, that would be a breach of the rules preventing the third-party ownership of players, as City could be argued to have undue influence over another club’s players.
Neither FIFA nor City were available for comment on Thursday.
City have welcomed the UEFA investigation into allegations that the club tried to circumvent financial fair play regulations, and Blues boss Pep Guardiola said on the issue last week: “I said last season I trust a lot what the club has done because I know them. Hopefully they can solve it as soon as possible.”
As well as Chelsea, Spanish trio Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid have all been punished for signing under-age players from abroad in the past.
Real were able to get their ban reduced on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an avenue Chelsea will also explore.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Romelu Lukaku homecoming provides opportunity at Inter Milan
- Wimbledon, Tour, cricket and rugby find Covid still in the air
- Maldini signs new two-year director deal with AC Milan
- Sampaoli leaves Marseille amid differences with club bosses
- Best still to come from ‘legend’ Salah after signing new Liverpool deal
- Salah ends speculation by signing new Liverpool contract
- Sampaoli leaves Marseille speaking of differences with club bosses
- Add a scarf of your favorite soccer team to our virtual wall
- Sampaoli leaves Marseille before Champions League return
- Moussa Sissoko joins Nantes from Watford