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'The allegations are not true' - Man City CEO Soriano hits back after European ban

13:11 GMT 19/02/2020
Khaldoon Al Mubarak Ferran Soriano Manchester City 2019-20
The Spanish executive has confirmed that the club will be taking an appeal against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano has spoken out to defend the club's financial activity in the wake of their two-season European ban.

The reigning Premier League champions were hit with a suspension from continental competition as well as a €30 million (£32m/$25m) fine by UEFA last week for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016.

Following an in-depth investigation, the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found City guilty of "overstating its sponsorship revenue" during the specified period.

The club responded to the sanctions by promising to appeal the final decision "at the earliest opportunity."

And Soriano has now issued an official statement denying the allegations against City, insisting all of the money put into the club has always been "properly declared".

He told City TV: "The most important thing I have to say today is that the allegations are not true. They are simply not true.

"The owner has not put money in this club that has not been properly declared. We are a sustainable football club, we are profitable, we don’t have debt, our accounts have been scrutinized many times, by auditors, by regulators, by investors and this is perfectly clear.

"We delivered a long list of documents and support that we believe is irrefutable evidence that the claims are not true and it was hard because we did this in the context of information being leaked to the media in the context of feeling that every step of the way, every engagement we had, we felt that we were considered guilty before anything was even discussed.

"But in the end, this is an internal process that has been initiated and then prosecuted and then judged by this FFP chamber at UEFA."

Soriano went onto discuss the appeal process, insisting it will be "business as usual" for City until their case is heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

He said: "We are looking for an early resolution obviously through a thorough process and a fair process so my best hope is that this will be finished before the beginning of the summer and until then for us, it is business as usual."

Pep Guardiola's position at City has been under intense scrutiny throughout the 2019-20 campaign, and it has been suggested he could walk away from the club if their European ban is upheld.

Soriano is adamant that the 49-year-old remains fully focused on his duties at the Etihad Stadium despite ongoing speculation, as he added: "Obviously, he has been kept informed about this process but this is not something for him to respond to.

"He is focused on the football, he is focusing on the game, the game at hand, the game today, tomorrow and the next weeks.

"As well as the players. They are calm, they are focused and this matter is more a business matter, a legal matter than a football manner."

Soriano concluded by delivering a message to City supporters, promising to do "everything that can be done to prove" the club's innocence in the coming months.

"The fans can be sure of two things. The first one is that the allegations are false," he said. "And the second is that we will do everything that can be done to prove so. We know the fans are supporting us.

"We can feel it. Manchester City fans have gone through challenges over the decades. This is just another challenge. We will stick together, we will go through it and we will not let the fans down."