The ban given to Manchester City for all UEFA competitions for the next two years could have significant ramifications for Sheffield United.
Man City have been found guilt of “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play Regulations and have also been fined £24.9m.
They will not be allowed to compete in Europe in either the 2020/21 or 2021/22 seasons. With them currently in second place in the Premier League, that creates problems for qualification.
Sky Sports reports that in their place, fifth position will instead qualify for the Champions League. As things stand, that is occupied by the Blades.
It would also presumably mean that Europa League qualification could drop down as far as eighth. Currently, fifth qualify automatically alongside the FA Cup and Carabao Cup winners. If they are already in Europe then it goes to sixth and seventh place.
So even if United don’t make it into the Champions League, they have also been given an increased chance of reaching the Europa League.
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Will Manchester City ban be upheld?
City have already said they will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This is the highest court in sport, based in Lausanne in Switzerland.
The super rich club employ some of the best sports lawyers in the world and will now go head-to-head with UEFA over the decision.
It means that this story is far from over. Blades fans shouldn’t assume a fifth place finish will guarantee Champions League football.
Man City are in this position because, as BBC Sport reports, they are alleged to have inflated the value of a sponsorship deal. As the Guardian outlines, owner Sheikh Mansour has been mostly funding the £67.5m annual sponsorship of the shirt, stadium and academy via the airline Etihad.
It’s alleged that Etihad only provide £8m directly, with the rest coming from Mansour’s own company.
City were previously fined £49m in 2014 for breaching regulations.