Will European ban spell end for Pep Guardiola at Man City?

Leigh Copson:

Pep Guardiola’s future is suddenly a hot topic in world football after Manchester City were sensationally banned from competing in European competitions for “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play rules.

City will not be eligible to compete in either the Champions League or the Europa League during the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons after UEFA revealed the English club had “overstated its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016”.

European football’s ruling body went on to say that City had been guilty of “failing to co-operate in the investigation” by the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB).”

The outgoing Premier League champions were quick to issue a response, declaring they were “not surprised” by the ruling, and confirmed that they would lodge an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Spot, claiming “the club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position”.

That legal battle promises to now rage on, but away from the board room and court room City will have another major issue to contend with, the future of manager Pep Guardiola.

The Champions League trophy is the only piece of major silverware that Guardiola has not won during his time as manager of Manchester City, and if he finally gets his hands on the trophy this season then he could be tempted to move on because an exile from European football until the 2022/23 campaign is unlikely to appeal to the man widely considered the best manager in world football.

The bad news, and I guess good news, for City supporters is that their team are 7/2 favourites with William Hill to finally go all the way in Europe this season, but if they do come up short could Guardiola be tempted to hang around for a couple of years in order to wait for the club’s return to Europe? That remains to be seen.

Right now City supporters will be sweating over the long-term future of the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss, but bookmakers believe they can at least breathe a sigh of relief in the short term with Guardiola out at 16/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post behind several other top-flight bosses.