Manchester City could be banned from next year's Champions League as nightmare scenario emerges
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Manchester City could be banned from the Champions League should a nightmare scenario take place.
Pep Guardiola’s side are reigning champions of the FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League, and while this season they have not reached the heady heights of last term, there is every expectation they will ultimately be challenging on all fronts.
The talismanic Kevin De Bruyne is being eased back into first team action, having suffered a hamstring injury in City’s opening game of the season against Burnley.
Meanwhile, Erling Haaland, who scored a club-record 52 goals in all competitions last term, is also set to return from injury for the ‘business end’ of the campaign.
However, the most unexpected of quirks has meant City may need to finish at the Premier League summit to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Indeed, if Girona win La Liga and City lose the Premier League, sister club Girona may be able to stop Guardiola’s team from playing in Europe’s Premier competition next term.
This is because of UEFA’s rules on multi-model ownership. Under UEFA regulations no two teams from within the same ownership group can compete against one another.
Should two clubs from the same ownership group qualify for the same UEFA competition, the side which finishes highest in its domestic championship qualifies.
If two teams finish in the same position, the one with the highest club coefficient, which in this case is City, would be awarded qualification.
However, if Girona win La Liga and City finish second in the Premier League, the Spanish outfit would play in next term’s Champions League and City would drop into the Europa League.
At present the latter scenario is not beyond the realms of possibility, with Girona top of La Liga and City five points adrift of top spot in the Premier League.
The links between City and Girona are undeniable. In August 2017, the City Football Group acquired a 44.3 per cent stake in Girona in an equal partnership with the Girona Football Group owned by Pere Guardiola, the brother of City boss Pep.
CFG has since increased its stake to 47 per cent while Pere Guardiola now owns 16 per cent. Another 35 per cent is owned by Marcelo Claure, the president of Bolivian team Club Bolivar, a club also among the 13 in CFG’s portfolio.