Manchester City have been in a fierce battle with UEFA for a number of years now. If the Premier League club was successful in the Champions League this season, they were planning a huge protest during the trophy presentation in an act of defiance.
Earlier this year, City were banned by UEFA from playing any European football over the next two years. In what was a big blow to the governing body, City were able to get that punishment lifted after an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Manchester City, who overcame Real Madrid in the last 16 of this year’s tournament, were planning to not accept the trophy if they were successful in the final in Lisbon. Instead, the club had commissioned their own trophy, which they would celebrate with following the game.
City were even considering going as far as taking UEFA’s Champions League trophy and having it melted back in England. This is likely to infuriate UEFA and they are already mulling over what punishment they can hand out this time, with a lifetime ban from their competitions thought to be their preferred penalty.
Since Pep Guardiola took over at Manchester City in 2016, the brief has been to win the Champions League. This year looked to be their best chance of ending that wait as they were -370.37 to get past Lyon in the odds on the Champions League quarter-final ties, while they were +200 in the outright market in the competition.
Unfortunately, Lyon beat them 3-1.
City have often come unstuck against fellow Premier League opponents in this tournament. In 2018 they were beaten by Liverpool, while last year, Tottenham eliminated them in the last eight. Guardiola’s side will have no such problem this season as they are the final club flying the flag for the Premier League.
City in talks with rivals over joining new European body
Manchester City’s relationship with UEFA is thought to be unrepairable now, therefore, they are taking the lead when it comes to lobbying other major European clubs to form a new super league.
They want to rival UEFA and encourage the other big players in Europe to become members. This new super league will give the likes of City more control on how the competition is run, particularly when it comes to financial fair play, something they want to abolish.
It is thought that the big clubs are split over the decision. It could mean that next season all the major teams will not be in the same competitions. Those who choose to support City’s idea will be involved in a super league where there is no qualification required, while others will stick with the Champions League.
This new super league could be a lifeline for clubs which failed to qualify into Europe through their domestic leagues. Unless they win the Champions League, Lyon will be without European football next season, while Valencia and Athletic Bilbao finished outside the Europa League placings in La Liga.
It is going to be interesting to see how the Champions League plays out this season as it may change the landscape of European football.