For UEFA, it’s only a slight exaggeration to say the battle is existential. Defeat would indicate efficiently admitting that Europe’s largest, richest teams are literally too giant to tame and that the physique theoretically answerable for corralling them is, essentially, nothing larger than the organizer of the occasional glitzy draw event in Monte Carlo.
For Manchester City, it is, primarily, a possibility to present that it is the golf tools who make the foundations now, that it’s not UEFA’s job to dictate who could make investments money inside the sport, to reveal that financial truthful play is nothing larger than a software to lock in soccer’s established order, to maintain out the youthful and the daring and the formidable.
The membership can take that stance, in spite of everything, because soccer is — like all sports activities actions — inherently tribal. Few, if any, of its followers blame their workforce for any of this. On social media, as on match days on the Etihad Stadium, it is laborious to uncover any sense of disappointment that City may have bent the foundations.
Instead, wagons have been circled, traces drawn. City’s followers have lengthily booed the pompous anthem that blares out at first of Champions League video games — one factor that predates the current investigation — nonetheless, when it subsequently performs on the Etihad sooner than the go-to of Real Madrid subsequent month, anticipate a torrent of hostility. City’s followers are arrayed behind their membership: UEFA is in the direction of them; it is a witch-hunt; it is time to drain the swamp.
But the reason the membership has no various nonetheless to battle, and to battle for as long as attainable, is totally completely different. City would possibly need the charges to be overturned because of it believes in its private “irrefutable” innocence, nonetheless, the anger with which it has reached every stage speaks to one different motivation: not the need to vindicate its loyalists, nonetheless, to protect the validity of the enterprise for people who it was designed to win over.