The repercussions from Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League ban are still being felt.
As Ian Ladyman writes in The Mail: “If Manchester City have won trophies by CHEATING the system then we must put an asterisk against their success.”
City’s alleged bending of the financial rules is still being investigated by the Premier League itself.
As The Mail report, a separate punishment could be forthcoming, including a points deduction.
The most extreme punishment could be stripping of titles. Could this end up benefitting United?
There have been calls on social media from United fans for City to be stripped of the 2017/18 title.
This was the season United finished second, which led to Jose Mourinho proclaiming leading the Red Devils to this position as one of his best achievements in football.
The comments were derided at the time, but have since aged well, given that 18 months later, United began this mid-February weekend down in ninth position.
Mourinho even talked about it after yesterday’s Spurs game. He told Sky: “If I go into that, I have to ask if the team which finished second in 2018 are going to be champions, yes or no?”
Could it really happen?
At present the Premier League is only said to be investigating City for breaches of financial rules between 2012 and 2016, The Mail report.
This would rule out a 2017/18 title award for United at the moment, but it could end up with City’s famous last gasp 2011/12 title being stripped away and given to second placed United.
It is still possible investigations into later years beyond 2016 would follow.
And obviously if there were sanctions and City’s achievements were voided between 2012 and 2016, then everything beyond that would be viewed with suspicion too.
For now the biggest potential impact for United is the smoothing of the path for this season’s Champions League qualification race.
United now may just need a fifth placed finish, if City land a top four spot, to get back into the competition.
The race is going to be tight, but combined with the option of qualifying through the Europa League too, it’s slightly easier.
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