Opinion: European soccer gives Major League Baseball a lesson in how to punish cheaters

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What I’m Hearing: The Astros’ may be apologizing but they are not giving up that championship.

USA TODAY

Take note, Major League Baseball. This is how you punish cheaters.

European soccer authorities kicked Manchester City, one of England’s biggest and most successful soccer clubs, out of its marquee tournament for the next two years on Friday. Fined them the equivalent of $32.5 million, too.

Man City’s offense? “Serious breaches” of the financial rules that are designed to maintain a level of parity in European soccer. Or at least prevent a couple of teams with ridiculously wealthy owners from spending into oblivion in pursuit of a title.

Under the Union of European Football Association’s financial fair play rules, teams are barred from spending more on players than they generate from TV contracts, tickets and sponsorships. Think of it as a salary cap unique to each team. If a team can line up several massive sponsorship deals, it can sign the likes of a Messi or a Ronaldo. If it doesn’t, well, then it can’t.

Man City is owned by the ruler of the United Arab Emirates’ brother, and he’s spent big in the past decade to transform the…

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