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'Man City and Sheikh Mansour are ready for battle' | Sam Lee on Champions League ban

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

17:01 17 Feb 2020

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour is ready for battle as he prepares to fight the club's two-year ban from Uefa competitions.

Manchester City's financial fair play breaches had led to murmurings of the club's possible exclusion from the Champions League but Friday's announcement of a €30 million fine and two-year competition ban was a rare act of severity from Uefa.

The transformative and unprecedented punishment handed down instantly sparked questions surrounding City's future: Would Pep Guardiola stay? Would Mansour sell the club or appeal the punishment in court?

Joining Monday's OTB AM, The Athletic's Manchester City correspondent, Sam Lee, said that City's owners were ready to wage a costly war against Uefa's ban.

"At the moment it doesn't seem like there is any sense that they are ready to pull out. It does seem like they are ready to fight it all the way," Lee explained of the City Football Group, run by Mansour.

"By all accounts, the Sheikh himself is very annoyed at it, he places a lot of the blame on PSG's shoulders.

"Obviously, you have got the regional politics there with Qatar and Abu Dhabi and I think they are in the mood for a battle really. If it gets to the end and they exhaust 10 years in the courts and they are still no better off perhaps they would pull out."

While Mansour, the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and a member of the royal family, acquired the club to associate his country with success and a positive image, this latest punishment serves to do the opposite.

"This ban relates to deliberately misleading people, deceit and all this kind of stuff and that will apparently not look so good," Lee added of the country's desire for a positive image.

"If the goal of the ownership was to bask in the glory of a Premier League team and say, 'Look, we are part of this wonderful football club that wins trophies and has the best manager in the world and some of the best players.' They are not able to bask in that glory so much right now, are they?"

You can watch Sam Lee's full analysis of the situation here.

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