Manchester City could be booted out of the Champions League.
Manchester City could be booted out of the Champions League.

Premier League giants face Champions League axe

Manchester City could be booted out of the Champions League as UEFA re-open their investigation into alleged Financial Fair Play cheating.

German magazine Der Spiegel published claims the club's hierarchy deliberately misled European football investigators over the source of the club's funding.

The revelations, part of the Football Leaks document dump, claimed 80 per cent of the annual "sponsorship" money from Gulf-based companies - which allowed City to get close to the losses permitted under FFP regulations - was actually from the club's Abu Dhabi owners, led by Sheikh Mansour.

Cash from Etihad Airways and an Abu Dhabi-based investment company was declared as being worth $147 million in 2015.

But documents suggest it was actually just $19.5m, with the shortfall made up by Abu Dhabi United Group.

City were also accused of setting up a shell company, also directly funded by ADUG, to meet the image rights scheme for players, wiping $71.5m off the wage bill.

It was reported at the weekend that Europe's biggest clubs - led by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona - were aiming to enlist City's English rivals to demand UEFA re-open the file and punish the Premier League champions more severely.

It's claimed Sheikh Mansour provided most of the club's sponsorship money
It's claimed Sheikh Mansour provided most of the club's sponsorship money

In 2014, City were fined $88m and forced to name just a 21-man squad for the next European campaign.

City are understood to have been surprised and shocked but declined to comment. A UEFA statement said: "FFP is a framework which clubs that wish to play in UEFA competitions agree to.

"UEFA relies on that information being fair and accurate. Should new information suggest previously concluded cases have been abused, those cases may be capable of being reopened."