City Champions League win would be no problem – UEFA

Manchester City

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insists it would "not be a problem" if Pep Guardiola's Manchester City won the Champions League this season.

Ceferin says the Premier League champions are still an “asset” to the European game despite their upcoming ban from continental competition.

City have been excluded from the Champions League for the next two years by UEFA after being found guilty of breaching the European governing body’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

However, they vehemently deny any wrongdoing and are appealing against the judgement to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

With City still involved in the Champions League this season – they lead Real Madrid 2-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie, with the return leg on Tuesday March 17 – they could potentially embarrass UEFA by winning the competition while the case is ongoing.

That would lead to UEFA’s top competition winners not being able to defend their trophy the following season, which would be seen by many as an embarrassment, but Ceferin denies that would be the case.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Ceferin said: “First of all, before Court of Arbitration for Sport decides, we shouldn’t comment on that.

“But whoever wins Champions League, it’s good. Any club wins, I like it. It’s not a problem. I would like to see a fantastic final in Istanbul. That’s all I care.”

The case could lead to a fierce legal battle between UEFA and City, who are financed by billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour and are also strongly supported by a Chinese state-backed investment firm as well as an American private equity company.

Asked if UEFA was “up” for this, Ceferin said: “We are not fighting anybody. We professionally defend our position.”

FFP, with its break-even clause, has been criticised in some quarters because it prevents direct investment in clubs by owners.