The aftermath of Man City’s recent Champions League ban continues on, with everyone speculating as to whether the Citizens can overturn this ruling after being barred from Europe for two years. One man who has now weighed in on this topic is Arsene Wenger.
The former Arsenal boss has been one of the biggest critics of unlimited spending in world football. During his reign at the Emirates Stadium, he constantly spoke against the Citizens’ spending, with almost every coach appearing to handed blank cheques since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover back in 2008.
The club were found guilty of overstating their sponsorship money and were thus punished by European football’s governing body. Wenger, who is now chief of global football development at FIFA, admitted that he is not certain, as an outsider, whether Guardiola’s side are guilty of any wrongdoing. However, he argued that the Premier League giants should not escape repercussions over potential wrongdoing.
Speaking at the Laureus Sports Awards, the 70-year-old said (as per the Daily Mail): “I was always in favor of financial control on clubs and income that is not natural. I am also convinced that the rules still have to evolve into something better – but at the moment they are what they are.
'If it is proven that this has been done on purpose then City cannot go unpunished. I don't know the case well enough to say what kind of punishment has to be made.”
Wenger was a huge advocate of FFP regulations during his later years in north London as he witnessed several clubs rise to the top and establish dominance on huge pools of cash. The Frenchman stressed that teams must adhere to the rules.
“My belief is that sport is about trying to win by respecting the rules,” he added.
“We celebrate the best in every sport – but only if we know the winners respect the rules.
“If there is no respect then it's not real sport. The table is always linked to the amount of money clubs spend on players.”
It has been almost two years since Arsene bid farewell to Arsenal but still has not forgotten how Man City’s spending ravaged his Gunners squad, telling the Laureus Sports Awards: “City bought all of my players!”
The Citizens plan on fighting this verdict, lodging an appeal to the CAS. However, for Guardiola and the players, there is no time to focus on this recent development as they have to play two league games in the span of four days – against West Ham and Leicester – before their Champions League round of 16 trip to Real Madrid.