By Ayyaz Malik (The Sports Buff)
Premier League champions Manchester City, have sensationally been banned from European football for two seasons, after being found guilty of breaching financial fair play. The Citizens, who have also been handed a £30 million fine on top, join top clubs such as Paris Saint Germain (fined £30 million) and AC Milan (banned for one season) in being punished for similar breaches.
In the case of Italian giants Milan, they are serving their ban this season, but with the former six-time Champions League winners, enduring a difficult season domestically, it appears like that AC Milan, will be absent from European football for two years at least.
Manchester City, have been given 10 days by the footballing governing bodies to appeal, if not the ban will stand. This landmark decision will send shock waves across the game, and serve as a warning to other teams like recent big spending Barcelona, to name just some clubs.
On the pitch, City’s rivals Liverpool continued their relentless pursuit of this year’s Premier League with yet another win, this time against relegation-threatened Norwich.
The Canaries, who boast a very youthful squad, gave the champions-elect a scare, but Sadio Mane, with another late goal, helped The Reds on their to opening a 25 point lead at the top.
Defending champions Manchester City face West Ham on Wednesday. The last two weekends of fixtures have been halved of course, and that’s been due to this season being the first season that the winter break is getting trialled.
With the Premier League arguably won by Liverpool, the race for second and the race for fourth spot, couldn’t be tighter. Leicester City, this year’s surprise package are just a point behind City (but they have played a game more).
Chelsea, who faced Manchester United at home on Monday, are just one point above Tottenham overcame Aston Villa 3-2, in what was an entertaining game at Villa Park. The Blues going into their game against The Red Devils, knew that only a win would suffice as Jose’s Spurs, look to make an assault on the top four.
North London rivals, Arsenal racked up an impressive 4-0 win against Newcastle, to give manager Mikel Arteta his biggest win since he took charge at The Emirates Stadium. That win took The Gunners into the top half of the table, and it will be hoped by Arteta, that this win, will signify a European push.
England’s cricketers after beating South Africa 3-1 in the test series, also came out on top in the T20 series winning 2-1, after winning a thrilling match decider. After winning the toss, new South Africa captain Quinton De Kock elected to bat.
The decision by the new Proteas skipper, seemed to be the correct one as the home side racked up 222-6. England were facing a difficult task, but not impossible and so it proved.
After the early loss of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow were able to hit half-centuries (57&64 respectively) to help the England run-chase to get back on track. When Jos Buttler was out for a well constructed 57, this sparked a mini-collapse.
Bairstow (64), who would end up top-scoring for the tourists, fell as well as Dawid Malan which meant England had a mini-collapse and were in danger of a mini-collapse, but captain Eoin Morgan (57 not out) and Ben Stokes (22), helped England win a thrilling run chase by five wickets.
There is more cricket to come, especially in the way of T20. The Pakistan Super League returns for another year. Unlike last year, this year’s tournament will be in Pakistan, unlike last year where the latter stages of the tournament was held in Pakistan and the earlier stages in Qatar.
Here, I Ayyaz Malik (The Sports Buff) will give you a weekly insight into the world of sport, every week. Do look out for my videos The Sports Buff sports round up: Manchester City face two year ban see you next week for more!