Pep Guardiola

Manchester City Under Scrutiny From UEFA

UEFA are monitoring Manchester City’s plans to invest in Spanish club Girona over concerns about a possible conflict of interest surrounding the deal.

Pep Guardiola’s side face the La Liga newcomers in an exhibition game in Catalonia on Tuesday as part of the tie-up that will see Girona become the latest foreign club to join the City Football Group.

The size of City’s stake in Girona remains unclear although it is known that Media Base Sports, the agency owned by Guardiola’s brother Pere, is the other major shareholder.

However, the deal is in danger of contravening UEFA rules that prevent clubs with the same owners playing in European competition – even if one is in the Champions League and the other in the Europa League.

If City and Girona both reached the Champions League next season, the one finishing lowest in the Premier League or La Liga would be forced to drop out under Article 5 of the competition’s rules.

Red Bull Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg have both been allowed to enter this season’s Champions League, but only after a UEFA investigation was satisfied that the drinks company are no longer owners of Salzburg and only sponsor the Austrian club.

City’s investment in Girona is unlikely to meet that criteria, and UEFA were keeping a close eye on developments last night.

Girona are set to join CFG’s global stable of clubs that includes New York City FC, Melbourne City, Yokohama F Marinos and Club Atletico Torque.

City have already sent four players – Douglas Luiz, Aleix Garcia, Pablo Maffeo and Marlos Moreno – on loan to Girona for the new season.

It emerged on Monday that a fifth player, Olarenwaju Kayode, is set to join them at the Montilivi Stadium after City agreed a deal with Austria Vienna for the 24-year-old Nigeria striker.

Last month, City defender Jason Denayer criticised the club for blocking a loan move to Lyon and ‘pushing’ him towards Girona.

Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan could return to action for City in tonight’s (tues) game after being out of action for the last 10 months with a cruciate ligament injury.

Kyle Walker has been allowed to miss the three-day training camp and match for personal reasons while another new signing, Benjamin Mendy, has travelled and taken part in light training as recovers from a thigh injury.

 

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