Manchester City could be forced to omit up to six members of their foreign legion from their Champions League squad as part of UEFA's punishment for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
While City were confident of passing new regulations and they could contest UEFA's findings, there are reports that European football's governing body found them guilty and will fine them 50 million pounds, to be paid over three years, and only allow them to name 21 senior players who are eligible for continental competition next season.
Of those 21, eight must be homegrown, leaving City, who have a small and diminishing band of English players, to decide between their imports and possibly change their recruitment policy as only 13 other slots will be available.
Only three of City's foreign players -- Gael Clichy, John Guidetti and Dedryck Boyata -- currently count as homegrown after being trained by English clubs for three years before the age of 21, and Belgian defender Boyata is likely to leave in the summer.
So are out-of-contract English players Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott while Micah Richards, who has been deprived of first-team opportunities, is also expected to go.
Joe Hart and James Milner are the only English footballers to feature regularly for City, while the injury-prone Jack Rodwell and third-choice goalkeeper Richard Wright are also in the squad and Scott Sinclair is on loan at West Bromwich Albion.
City have shown an interest in signing Porto pair Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala, who are Brazilian and French respectively, and Arsenal's Bacary Sagna, another who does not qualify as homegrown.
City already have 15 senior players who are not deemed homegrown -- goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, defenders Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov, midfielders Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Javi Garcia David Silva, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas, and strikers Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo.
In addition, centre-back Matija Nastasic, who had been classed as an under-21 player, will no longer be young enough to meet those criteria next season and will also be competing for a place on that list. Should they then sign three foreigners, as had been planned, they would have 19 players competing for 13 spots.
City have made five senior signings since Manuel Pellegrini took over and all -- Demichelis, Fernandinho, Jovetic, Navas and Negredo -- are foreigners.
Any 21-man squad, like the 25-man squads other clubs name, can be supplemented by players aged 21 or under -- as long as they have been with the club for two consecutive years after the age of 15. This means a player who has been loaned out might not be eligible for the B list.
In City's case, they could include Portuguese winger Marcos Lopes and Welsh midfielder Emyr Huws. Dutch defender Karim Rekik would not be eligible due to loan spells at Portsmouth, Blackburn and PSV Eindoven.