City handed UEFA 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.
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Pressure from the players' union FIFPro has forced UEFA to agree to water down its sanctions imposed against City and Paris St 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.
Last 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, said: "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."
To make it even easier for Manchester City, of the five home-grown players only one needs to have been trained by City, the other four can have come through the youth ranks of any other English club.
UEFA said in a statement: "Should a club be entitled to register a maximum number of 21 players on the 'A' list, the minimum number of places exclusively reserved to 'locally-trained players' shall be five instead of eight, of which a maximum of four shall be 'association-trained'.
UEFA also confirmed that no reviews were requested of the settlement agreements by any other club.
Manchester City and PSG were each fined £49million (60million euro) 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 £49million.
The clubs also have to cap their Champions League squad wage bills at their 2013/4 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 last season's Champions League squad.