Manchester City faces paying millions in compensation to their players after being banned from Europe for failing to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play laws.
Urgent talks over how the club will reimburse their leading stars — who have Champions League bonuses stipulated in their contracts — are already underway.
Many players are entitled to extra wages dependent on the club’s performance in Europe.
Some receive bonuses — up to seven-figure sums — from the point City qualify for the Champions League.
Last week’s shock ruling from UEFA that prevents the club from playing in European competition for the next two years means stars will be denied the opportunity to collect those lucrative payments.
The talks over compensation could effectively see City payout Champions League bonuses without the financial windfall the competition brings.
Qualification alone is worth around £150million per team.
City has been in regular dialogue with players and their agents since their suspension was announced last week and there have been discussions over how the club plan to deal with the potential loss of earnings.
City chiefs have promised to regularly update players on their forthcoming appeal against the suspension.
There are major concerns within the club that players will look to leave because of the Champions League ban.
City are expected to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the coming days.
City officials have already intimated to players that they expect, at the very least, to have their two-season UEFA suspension halved.
But the outcome of City’s appeal will have a significant bearing on how players view their long-term futures at City.
Rival clubs, keen on signing City stars who want to continue playing in the Champions League, are likely to take advantage of the ban by tabling cut-price bids in the hope of persuading unsettled players to try to force their way out.
But City will not be penalised by their sponsors.
Neighbours Manchester United face losing more than £20m from their £75m-a-year deal with Adidas should they fail to qualify for the Champions League for two consecutive seasons.
But there are no such stipulations in City’s commercial contracts, including the club’s record £65m-a-year deal with kit supplier Puma.
City are also convinced boss Pep Guardiola will see out the 12 months on his contract despite the ban.
Juventus are interested in the Catalan but City believe Guardiola, who has stressed the importance of sticking together in recent days, will remain in charge next season.