Uefa financial investigators are reportedly expected to press ahead with recommendations for a Champions League ban against Manchester City within the next week.
Yves Leterme, the chairman and chief investigator of Uefa’s club financial control body, has been leading the review into evidence surrounding alleged £60million payments deception detailed during the Football Leaks scandal last autumn.
The investigatory chamber is said to have finalised its conclusions two weeks ago in Nyon, Switzerland. A Uefa spokesman said it was unable to comment on a live investigation.
Leterme said in February that the club faced “the heaviest punishment” if the allegations were proven. Senior Uefa officials – who previously launched sanctions against City in 2014 – are particularly enraged by leaked files from 2015, which claim almost £60million was paid directly into the club by their billionaire Arab owners but declared as sponsorship.
According to Der Spiegel in November, City breached FFP rules by €188 million (£167 million) in 2014. City owner Sheikh Mansour was accused of funding significant parts of so-called deals with club sponsors in an attempt to escape Uefa sanctions. Der Spiegel also alleged that City set up a secret scheme called “Project Longbow”, which effectively hid about £40 million in payments to players, after the club had agreed a €20 million fine as a settlement for FFP breaches.
However, City have claimed “the attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear” and said they “will not be providing any comment on out-of-context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Man City personnel and associated people”.
A spokeswoman for City told the Telegraph that the club stood by its previous “strenuous denial of any financial wrongdoing”