LONDON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said on Sunday that he was “shocked” to learn of his former club Manchester City’s two-year UEFA ban from European competition, adding that he just wanted the best for his old team and their head coach Pep Guardiola.
Arteta, who had been Guardiola’s assistant at City, said he had spoken to his fellow Spaniard about the club’s ban and 30 million euros ($32.53 million) fine by European soccer’s governing body UEFA for “serious” financial fair play breaches.
“I was shocked and have been in contact with Pep and the people at the club that I know,” Arteta told reporters after Arsenal’s 4-0 home win against Newcastle United.
“I just want the best for City. The admiration and love I have for Pep, and not only Pep, the staff and the players, I just want the best for them. I know how hard they work.”
English champions City swiftly announced plans on Friday to appeal against the UEFA decision to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The ruling, if upheld, would mean City would not be able to compete in the next two editions of the Champions League should they qualify.
The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League and City are currently second. If they were banned, the fifth-placed team would take their place.
Arsenal are looking to muscle into those qualification spots, with Sunday’s win leaving them 10th, six points off fifth place, but Arteta said City’s ban had not been a boost for his team and that it had generated wider uncertainty.
“I don’t really think we know what can happen and if there is any further action to other clubs. We will have to wait and see,” he said.
UEFA’s financial fair play rules are designed to prevent clubs receiving unlimited amounts of money through inflated sponsorship deals with organisations related to the owners.
The Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) said City had broken the rules by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”...