Man City could be banned from the Champions League with Liverpool role clear


Manchester City face being banned from the Champions League next season due to Girona's success in La Liga.

Girona, who partly owned by City Football Group, have been a surprise hit in Spain this year, challenging for the La Liga title. UEFA rules state that two clubs owned by the same group can't compete in the same European competition, which could put both teams' participation at risk.

If Girona qualify for the Champions League and Arsenal and Liverpool finish above City in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola's reigning champions could be kicked out of the competition. The i reports that UEFA are keeping a close eye on the relationship between City and Girona.

It comes after the Spanish side announced they would be selling 19-year-old winger Savio to City following an impressive season under head coach Michel. If both clubs qualify for the Champions League, City Football Group might be forced to reduce their stake in Girona.

This situation is similar to what happened with Aston Villa and Brighton when they reached the same European competition as sister teams Vitoria de Guimaraes and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise respectively. Manchester United could face a similar issue once Sir Jim Ratcliffe's 25 per cent purchase is approved, as he also owns Ligue 1 side Nice.

UEFA's Club Financial Control Body will examine the link between City and Girona in the summer if a conflict is confirmed. If no major changes are made behind the scenes, both clubs' participation in the Champions League could be at risk.

According to UEFA's competition rules, an individual or group cannot have "control or influence" over more than one club playing in the same tournament. If an investigation concludes that individuals within the City Football Group share control over both clubs and can't make the necessary changes to their business structure, only the team that finishes higher in their domestic league will be allowed to play in the Champions League.

The other team will drop into the Europa League. If Girona and City end up in the same league position, the team with the higher coefficient would be given the nod, which would be City after winning the Champions League last year.

But if Girona finish above the Premier League champions, then they would get the Champions League spot. They are currently second to Real Madrid.

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