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Reigning EPL Champion Man City banned from Champions League for two years and fined €30m

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The Premier League side say they are “disappointed but not surprised” by the decision and described it as “prejudicial”

Manchester City have been banned from competing in the Champions League for two years.

UEFA handed down the punishment, which includes a €30 million fine (£25m/$33m), to the Premier League giants for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.

Following an investigation, the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found City guilty of “overstating its sponsorship revenue” between 2012 and 2016.

The investigation started after a series of allegations published by German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2018, which drew on documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks.

UEFA’s statement read: “The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City Football Club committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.

“The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the Club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.

“The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of €30 million.”

Denying any wrong doing, City responded with a statement on their website, saying UEFA made the decision even before the investigation had started.

“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” the statement said. “The Club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.

“In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun. The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The Club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling. 

“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the Club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”

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Lampard’s side taught a harsh lesson by brilliant Bayern

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Chelsea wanted to celebrate their 2012 victory over the Bavarians but the past counted for nothing as the hosts suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Serge Gnabry’s double inspired Bayern Munich as 10-man Chelsea were humbled 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge.

Gnabry, who scored four goals against Spurs in a 7-2 group-stage win in October, netted an exquisite quick double (51, 54) to put Bayern in control before Robert Lewandowski added a third (76) as the Bundesliga leader outclassed Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.

The Blues fought gamely, somehow managing to reach half-time still on level terms. However, Bayern blew them away with two quick-fire goals shortly after the interval.

Cesar Azpilicueta slipped trying to press, Andreas Christensen attempted to cover but, in doing so, broke the defensive line, which allowed Robert Lewandowski to cut the ball back cleverly for Serge Gnabry to open the scoring.

The pair linked up again just three minutes later, with Lewandowski easily winning a duel with Azpilicueta before slipping in Gnabry, who raced away from Christensen before doubling the visitors’ advantage with a cool finish.

Lewandowski got the goal his performance deserved in the 76th minute, after a brilliant break down the left flank from Alphonso Davies.

As Lampard admitted to BT Sport afterwards, “The performance was poor and sometimes you have to be brutally honest. They outclassed us in every department and it’s quite sobering.”

Marcos Alonso became the first Chelsea player to be sent off in the Champions League since John Terry was dismissed in April 2012 against Barcelona.

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Griezmann Earns Barcelona Away Goal At Napoli

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Antoine Griezmann’s goal was his 14th in all competitions for Barcelona since joining the team after completing his £107m move from Atletico Madrid in July.

Barcelona scored a well deserved away goal as they came from behind to draw against Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League Round-16 tie in Italy.

Dries Mertens curled in from 18 yards in the first half to become Napoli’s joint top scorer of all-time, level with Marek Hamsik on 121 goals.

But Barcelona came from behind to equalised in the 57 minutes when Antoine Griezmann scored from Nelson Semedo’s low cross.

The visitors ended the encounter with 10 men as Arturo Vidal was sent off late on.

In the 89th minute, he fouled Fabian Ruiz, but then, after the Napoli man reacted, Vidal pushed his head into the midfielder’s face and was shown two yellow cards in quick succession.

The return match takes place at the Nou Camp on Wednesday, 18 March, although the Spanish La Liga leaders will also be without suspended midfielder Sergio Busquets as he picked up his third booking of this season’s tournament.

It came early in the second half when, with a foot raised, he caught Mertens, who limped off and had to be replaced shortly afterwards.

Barcelona had an injury worry of their own as centre-half Gerard Pique hobbled off in added time at the end of the match with an ankle injury.

Napoli had chances to go into the second leg in Spain with the lead but visiting goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made two fine saves, denying Lorenzo Insigne and then Jose Callejon.

“They didn’t hurt us, they tickled us,” said Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso. “It went wrong in one moment and they punished us.”

Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne added: “We could have won, so we’re a bit disappointed. It was emotional to face players like [Lionel] Messi.”

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MANE GAVE REDS ANOTHER WIN

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West Ham led 2-1 at Anfield but an outing to forget for goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski allowed Liverpool to escape to victory.

Liverpool were made to work to clinch a record-equalling 18th-straight Premier League win on Monday, needing a second-half rally to see off struggling West Ham 3-2 at Anfield.

Sadio Mane scored in the 81st minute to secure three more points on the march to a first title in 30 years, though they were made to work hard against opponents struggling at the wrong end of the table.

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