City’s success in recent years has been overshadowed by controversies surrounding their compliance with Financial Fair Play rules. In 2014, the club was fined $82 million and had restrictions placed on their Champions League squad due to breaching the rules. Paris Saint-Germain, also backed by Qatar, received a similar punishment.
Despite these setbacks, City continued to strengthen their squad with world-class players like Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez, and they hired Pep Guardiola as their coach. In 2020, City was banned from European competition for two years due to “serious breaches” of spending rules and non-cooperation with investigators. Leaked emails and documents, allegedly hacked, suggested attempts to conceal the club’s income source.
However, City denied the charges, and the ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In February of this year, City faced over 100 charges of financial wrongdoing by the Premier League after a four-year investigation. Once again, the club denied the charges, but if proven, severe punishments such as point deductions or expulsion from the Premier League could be imposed.
Despite their financial controversies, City’s quest for success in the Champions League has remained elusive. Despite their immense investments and the guidance of Guardiola, they have consistently fallen short on the biggest stage. However, Inter Milan, the third-best team in Italy this season, will need to produce a major upset to prevent City from winning the title this time.
City has already defeated European giants Bayern Munich and Real Madrid on their journey to the final, which has given Guardiola and his team a sense of confidence. Guardiola has openly expressed the importance of winning the Champions League, acknowledging that it is a goal they cannot avoid.
Overall, City’s rise to prominence has been accompanied by controversies surrounding their financial practices, but they remain determined to achieve success in European competition.