Liverpool F.C.

Manchester City Vows to Fight, Because Losing Is Unthinkable

City has vented in public at every step of the subsequent investigation into the accusations, raging that “irrefutable” evidence was being ignored, that UEFA, the governing body for soccer in Europe, was not running a fair or impartial process, that the outcome was predetermined.

Late on Friday, when UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber — the body that will determine exactly how City should be sanctioned — revealed that it had decided to ban the club from the Champions League for two seasons, and fine it $32.5 million, the cold fury reached its pitch.

Defeat would mean effectively admitting that Europe’s biggest, richest teams are now too big to tame, and that the body theoretically in charge of corralling them is, in reality, nothing more than the organizer of the occasional glitzy draw event in Monte Carlo.

For Manchester City, it is, primarily, a chance to prove that it is the clubs who make the rules now, that it is not UEFA’s job to dictate who can invest money in the sport, to demonstrate that financial fair play is nothing more than a device to lock in soccer’s status quo, to keep out the young and the daring and the ambitious.

City’s fans have long booed the pompous anthem that blares out at the start of Champions League games — something that predates the current investigation — but, when it next plays at the Etihad before the visit of Real Madrid next month, expect a torrent of hostility.

Whatever the source of its funding, it should hardly be controversial to suggest that what attracted Sheikh Mansour, City’s ultimate owner, and his Abu Dhabi United Group to a Premier League soccer team in the first place was the blue-chip prominence it brought.

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