Bet you didn't think Valentine's Day was going to spring a surprise on you like this, eh?
Manchester City have been banned from the Champions League for the next two seasons and fined €30m for Financial Fair Play breaches.
UEFA found that City had been falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues, and so have given them a mighty slap on the wrist.
UEFA takes note of the decision of the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), issued today, relating to Manchester City Football Club...— UEFA (@UEFA) February 14, 2020
Stunned at City CL ban (2 seasons). Decision was due in December, everything indicated (on several sides) no ban. Big delay and now this 180. One thing I would say is that part of noise from top level at City was that they’re confident of no ban, even if it means they overturn it— Sam Lee (@SamLee) February 14, 2020
City were quick to try and fan the flames of the news, releasing a statement within minutes of the verdict going public. Understandably, they got 'ratio'd', and the responses weren't too kind...
Pep, how many years is the ban?pic.twitter.com/8XBEwxgjvR— Swanny🔴🇾🇪 (@ftbIswanny) February 14, 2020
Football has won. Biggest dub in history pic.twitter.com/MwIRfisFAE— WainWanWané 🅙 (@SheikhSadio) February 14, 2020
Away from directly taunting the poor admin of City's Twitter account, the hysteria was just beginning elsewhere on Twitter, celebrating a possible City demise.
Even Man City's accountants bottle the Champions League— Bardi (@BardiTFC) February 14, 2020
The whole of Twitter coming together to laugh at City is beautiful ain’t it? pic.twitter.com/KvJIKqaEQX— Noz Ahmed (@NozAhmed) February 14, 2020
thank goodness I logged onto twitter today so I could see all the memes about City— Ashwin Raman (@AshwinRaman_) February 14, 2020
Amid the comedy that rival fans were enjoying, City supporters seemed a little more furious and saddened by the news.
Then again, the saltiness was to be totally expected, right?
Khaldoon reading the UEFA statement:pic.twitter.com/v5RpwtZn17— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) February 14, 2020
City's cheating sounds very severe. Should ban all English teams from Europe until it's all sorted out. Let's really make sure the corruption is rooted out of the game— Typical City (@TypicalCity) February 14, 2020
And spare a thought for poor Buvey on this fine Friday evening...
Speculation had been rife about Pep Guardiola's future at City regardless of this news - his current contract at the club runs out in the summer 2021, and suggested earlier in the week that he could be sacked by City if he doesn't win this year's Champions League.
With rumours that Juventus could come calling, this news has added fuel to the fire that this season could be Guardiola's last at Manchester City.
🗣 Guardiola: “I want to win the Champions League.— Goal (@goal) February 14, 2020
“If we don’t beat Real Madrid, then the chairman will come, or the sporting director, and say ‘It’s not good enough, we want the Champions League, I’m going to sack you’."
Sheikh Mansour: “There’s no champions league for two years.”— Shirtless Plantain Show (@theplantainshow) February 14, 2020
Pep Guardiola: pic.twitter.com/M7S8Lbdo6H
Pep Guardiola rocking up at Juventus’ training ground tomorrow pic.twitter.com/wkmnUQJCAB— ً (@TheImmortalKop) February 14, 2020
Manchester City banned from the Champions League for two seasons, reduces their chances of winning it from zero to zero. Tremendous.— Mod (@CFCMod_) February 14, 2020
Also means Guardiola is going to flee looooool
So what happens next in the process?
City confirmed that they will commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport as soon as possible, though it's unknown if they'll at all be successful.
In the meantime, it looks as if their Champions League qualifying spot will be knocked down a place, and so fifth place could enter next year's competition instead.
Similarly, it's possible that eighth place qualifies for the Europa League due to this trickle down effect.
4— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) February 14, 2020
As it stands, yep.— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) February 14, 2020
It could be that Sheffield United think they have a UCL spot and have to wait weeks for the CAS hearing to find out if they keep it, or have to go to UEL. Not ideal. https://t.co/fyAkVc251g
Wenger started working for FIFA and in few months now Manchester City are banned from the Champions League so we can finish 5th and qualify directly for it. Arsène Wenger, he’s done it again— Aubazettes (@Aubazettes) February 14, 2020
MUFC to finish 5th and get the fourth Champions League spot as MCFC banned. MUFC fluke it, win it and loan MCFC trophy for two days by way of thanks - and so blues can see what the European Cup looks like.— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) February 14, 2020
Manchester City have been banned from the Champions League for the 2⃣ seasons. With the PL having a quota of 4 teams for the UCL, you'd think it would now mean 5th spot means Champions League football.— The Bladesman (@The_Bladesman) February 14, 2020
Who currently sits in 5th? Sheffield United.#twitterblades #sufc pic.twitter.com/fwvMMRdZ0H
Man City banned from Uefa champions league for 2 years.— NEAT Master™ (@TheNeatmaster) February 14, 2020
Mourinho and Ole: https://t.co/NNh0qMJ1a9
What a loveless Valentine's Day for Manchester City.
anyone else feeling physically ill? :)— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 5, 2010