Feb 14, 2020 - Sports

Premier League champs Manchester City banned from Champions League

Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Reigning Premier League champion Manchester City will be banned from European soccer competitions for two seasons in response to "serious breaches" of financial regulations, Europe's governing soccer body announced Friday.

Why it matters: The restriction means City won't compete in the Champion's League, European soccer's top competition. The club garnered £54 million ( $70 million) in revenue from the competition in the 2017-2018 season. City will also have to pay a fine of €30 million ($32.5 million).

  • The drop in revenue could impact City's status as the world's most valuable soccer club, a title it has held since private equity firm Silver Lake Partners agreed to invest $500 million for a 10% stake in City Football Group, the team's owner.

Details: City "committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016," per EUFA's press release.

The other side: After UEFA’s ruling, City issued a statement suggesting it plans to appeal the decision.

“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber. 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.”

Go deeper: Private equity giant Silver Lake to invest $500 million in City Football Group

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Private equity returns fell behind stocks over the past decade

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. private equity returns fell just below S&P 500 returns for the 10-year period ending last June, according to a report released Monday morning by Bain & Company.

Why it matters: Private equity markets itself as beating public markets over long-term time horizons, and usually providing an illiquidity premium to boot. These new performance figures not only dent such claims, but provide fresh ammunition to critics of public pension investment in private equity funds.

U.K. bans children from heading soccer balls

A Manchester City player heading a ball in 2019. Photo: Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

British youth soccer players will no longer be allowed to head the ball in practice, according to new safety guidelines for kids ages 11 and under. And even after they leave primary school, headers "will remain a low priority when compared to other technical aspects of the game."

Why it matters: The new guidelines are in direct response to a 2019 study that found former pro soccer players were 3.5 times more likely to die of dementia compared with a control sample, and five times more likely to die of Parkinson's.

Go deeper: The world's wealthiest soccer clubs

San Jose approves first step to connect 50,000 unserved residents to broadband

Street scene in San Jose, California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

The San Jose City Council approved the first batch of community grants as part of the city's Digital Inclusion Fund intended to connect unserved residents to broadband.

Why it matters: The Digital Inclusion Fund was established a year ago during negotiations with 5G providers wanting to erect small cell antennas on city infrastructure. A portion of lease revenue collected from telecom companies goes into the fund — along with significant private funding — to help connect unserved residents.