Manchester City avoided a transfer ban from Fifa for rule breaches in relation to the signing of overseas youth players in part due to the punishments the Premier League champions recommended the world governing body impose on them.
City have been fined £315,000 (€340,000) after admitting to a number of breaches regarding the international transfer and registration of players under 18 dating back several years, particularly in relation to their trial periods and participation in friendly matches.
In February, Chelsea were given a two-window transfer embargo for flouting rules around the recruitment of youth players, which followed bans for Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, and there was widespread expectation City would incur similar punishment. But the number of regulation breaches made by City is understood to have been substantially fewer than those committed by Chelsea and the Spanish clubs.
Fifa found Chelsea – who are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have their ban overturned – were guilty of breaches in 29 of 92 cases they investigated. But the figure involving City – while more than single figures – is said to be much less.
All of the Article 19 breaches, which involved players from inside and outside the EU, occurred before December 2016, when Fifa issued new guidance on interpretation of the rules.
It has also emerged that what sources described as City’s “very open” dialogue and cooperation with Fifa from the moment they first engaged with the world governing body back in 2014 were additional factors behind the disciplinary committee’s decision not to issue a ban.
As part of that dialogue, City are understood to have proposed clear sanctions for Fifa to issue against them. It is understood they did not include the recommendation of a ban.
City are still being investigated by Uefa into allegations of Financial Fair Play irregularities. (© Daily Telegraph, London)