By Charlie Lynch
Change has come to the Premier League in recent years, with teams like Manchester City, and almost assuredly Liverpool as well, putting up an unprecedented amount of points to win the league. The recent introduction of Video Assisted Referee (VAR) has created a large stir of controversy surrounding consistency in the calls by the VARs.
However, no change has created as much of a stir as the recent news that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has penalized last year’s champions, Manchester City, by banning them from the Champions League and fining them €30 million. According to Forbes Magazine, UEFA penalized the club because its owner illegally donated money to the club under the pretense of increased revenue from sponsorship. A second charge was laid against City as well for not complying with the officials during the investigation of the aforementioned scandal. Forbes reported that City is already attempting to appeal UEFA’s decision, but does not appear likely that an appeal will be passed.
This UEFA decision will have long lasting implications in the Premier League. Manchester City not only has to deal with the large financial hit it will take from the fine, but will also suffer financially from the €200 million in prize money that it was expecting to earn in the Champions League. This loss will only add to the damage done by the Champions League play suspension for the club, and will have particularly grave consequences on the players.
That being said, the most likely initial consequence of this suspension will be the departure of Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola, who has been keening for a Champions League trophy ever since he left the Barcelona squad that made his career so illustrious.
The second feared consequence looming over City fans everywhere is the collapse of the team’s star-studded roster. Talent levels matching those of this team have hardly been seen before, and this group of players will be remembered as one of the best teams of all time. In the midfield, there is Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden. Up front are Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, and Gabriel Jesus. All of these players could leave in the foreseeable future if the appeal doesn’t go through as City won’t be able to afford all their contracts because of its inability to play in the Champions League.
All of this paints a very frightening and bleak future for Manchester City, with the only hope lying in the Club’s ability to fight the judgement and possibly appeal the ban. Of course, all of this has felt like salt being rubbed into the very real and already throbbing wound of rival Liverpool cruising towards an undefeated season. Liverpool also appears as though they will beat City’s previous record for points in a season. It seems that there are rough and choppy waters for City ahead.