City handed UEFA sanction boost
Manchester City's plans for next season's Champions League campaign have received a huge boost after it was confirmed the club will only need to name five rather than eight home-grown players in their reduced 21-man squad.
Pressure from the players' union FIFPro has forced UEFA to agree to temper its sanctions imposed against City and Paris Saint-Germain for breaching financial fair play rules.
UEFA had intended that both clubs would only be allowed to have 21 players with eight of those having come through the youth system in their home countries.
UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino has now confirmed that instead the clubs will only have to name five home-grown players, a decision which could have a significant impact on City's transfer plans.
In the 2013-14 season, City registered 23 players and used only 21 due to the eight home-grown players rule, so to have this reduced to five means the effect of the sanction on the club has been greatly diluted.
Infantino, in Sao Paulo for the FIFA Congress, told Press Association Sport: "It came after a request from the players union FIFPro saying when you take these kind of sanctions and measures you cannot harm the players and the rights of a player who has a contract for the behaviour of the clubs.
"So we looked at it and it was felt appropriate there for the number to be proportionally reduced as well.''
Manchester City and PSG were each fined 49 million pounds (60 million euros) over three years, which could be reduced to a single year if financial targets are met in the following years.
City said their summer transfer plans would be unaffected by a restriction limit of their transfer spending to a net 49 million pounds.
The clubs also have to cap their Champions League squad wage bills at their 2013-14 levels for the next two seasons.
The reduction in the home-grown players limit means City will be able to cope with the expected departure of Joleon Lescott on a free transfer, with Micah Richards and James Milner also being linked with a move.
Keeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Rodwell, left-back Gael Clichy and defender Dedryck Boyata were also named as home-grown players in the 2013-14 season's Champions League squad.
City currently have 15 senior players who do not qualify as homegrown -- Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov, Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis, Matija Nastasic, Javi Garcia, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko -- and are planning to add three more, in Fernando, Bacary Sagna and an imported centre-back but now they will only have to omit two of those 18 from their European squad.
They are looking at goalkeepers who qualify as homegrown to replace Costel Pantilimon, Joe Hart's former deputy, who has left after his contract expired.