City celebrate win

An investigation into Manchester City for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations has been launched by the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), European football’s governing body has announced.

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling (centre) celebrates scoring his side’s sixth goal

The move follows allegations made against the club and their owners by German publication Der Spiegel, which drew upon documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks.

The articles included claims of Sheikh Mansour’s City regime topping up multi-million pound sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi companies in order to circumvent rules relating to how much money owners can put into a club.

In response to UEFA’s announcement, the Premier League champions issued a statement welcoming the opening of proceedings.

“Manchester City welcomes the opening of a formal UEFA investigation as an opportunity to bring to an end the speculation resulting from the illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails,” the statement read.

“The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false. The club’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record.”

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola attends a news conference in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Manchester City will face Shakhtar Donetsk in Group F Champions League soccer match at the Metalist Stadium on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

In January, CFCB chairman and chief investigator Yves Leterme said the club faced “the heaviest punishment” of exclusion from the Champions League if the allegations that they deceived UEFA over sponsorship income were proven.

City were fined £49million for breaching FFP regulations in 2014, while UEFA warned in November that any investigation could be re-opened should new information from the time of that sanction come to light.

The Football Association is investigating claims City made an illegal payment to Jadon Sancho’s agent when the England winger was 14 years old – another allegation that was published by Der Spiegel.