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Manchester City players could potentially rip up their contracts and walk away from the club if UEFA's ruling to ban them from European competition for two years sticks.
On Friday night UEFA announced that they'd found the Premier League champions in breach of Financial Fair Play rules and they would be serving a two year ban from the Champions League and Europa League.
The news has led to speculation about whether or not some of their players would want to remain at the club with no chance of European success until 2023, if they fail this season.
Now sports lawyer John Mehrzad has taken to Twitter to explain how the players could potentially leave for nothing, should the ban stay in place after the club's appeal.
1. It is arguable that Man City's conduct (subject to CAS appeal) in breaching UEFA (and it would seem PL) regs would be a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence City's player contracts.- John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
3. Such conduct goes to the root of being a professional footballer at the highest level - ie an ability to play in the highest level of European club competition if club qualifies in the usual way.- John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
5. UK employment law would, I suspect, look favourably on player's arguments if they resigned as City's conduct (again subject to CAS appeal) has deprived them of playing in champs league - and it can be safely assumed achieving related bonus payments.- John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
End. In reality, money talks. City players unlikely to walk out of lucrative contracts or become embroiled in legal battles. But their agents can now demand hefty guaranteed payments/renegotiated contracts for players to stay. City may have little option but to agree.- John Mehrzad (@JohnMehrzadLaw) February 15, 2020
Leroy Sane is the player most likely to leave the club in the summer, although the Germany winger was already expected to leave for Bayern Munich before Friday's news.
Players that would have been expected to still be at the Etihad Stadium for years to come may be questioning their future at the club now as well.
Sergio Aguero claimed he would be at City until they won the Champions League but as he'll be 32 at the beginning of next season, and 34 once the ban is over, he may consider his future.
Raheem Sterling has been linked with a move to Real Madrid in the past and a lack of European football for two years might leave him considering a move to the Bernabeu.
It's not only the players who could choose to find an exit from the north west as Pep Guardiola's future is far from certain after the ban.
The former Barcelona manager has been in charge of the Premier League champions for four seasons and he's never stayed at a job longer than that.
This season's performance in the league had already led to speculation he was eyeing an exit and again this news will only double down on that belief.
City fans already boo the Champions League anthem before games and this week's news is only likely to add to that feeling of hostility.
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