The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed their decision on Manchester City’s appeal against their Champions League ban on Monday and ruled in favour of the English Premier League club, who can now participate in the 2020-21 Champions League competition.
Manchester City’s two-year UEFA ban from European football has been overturned, the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)said on Monday.
CAS ruled that City did not breach financial fair play rules by ‘disguising equity funding as sponsorship’, but imposed a US$11.3mn (10mn euros) fine for failing to cooperate with UEFA.
The English Premier League (EPL) club were seeking to overturn UEFA’s decision to ban them in February from the European competition for the next two seasons, along with a fine of US$34mn (€30mn), after finding them guilty of ‘serious breaches’ of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016.
In delivering the ruling on Monday, CAS said City did ‘fail to cooperate with UEFA authorities’ but overturned the decision by UEFA’s club financial control body (CFCB) to ban them.
City said the decision was ‘validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present’.
“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered,” City added.
City have persistently denied wrongdoing in relation to the matter, which stemmed from a series of articles published by Der Spiegel in November 2018, drawing on information purportedly obtained by the whistleblower Football Leaks.
City have already secured a top-four finish in the EPL this season, which will mean a place in the 2020-21 Champions League after the verdict being overturned.
In this year’s competition, Pep Guardiola’s side face Real Madrid in their last-16 second leg at Etihad Stadium on August 7. They lead 2-1 from the first-leg and will face Juventus or Lyon if they progress.
The CAS statement continued: “The award emphasised that most of the alleged breaches reported by the adjudicatory chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred.
“As the charges with respect to any dishonest concealment of equity funding were clearly more significant violations than obstructing the CFCB’s investigations, it was not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in UEFA’s club competitions for Manchester City’s failure to co-operate with the CFCB’s investigations alone.”
On reducing the fine, CAS said that, while it considered ‘the importance of the co-operation of clubs in investigations conducted by the CFCB’ and Manchester City’s ‘disregard of such principle and its obstruction of the investigations’, the CAS panel ‘considered it appropriate to reduce UEFA’s initial fine by two-thirds’.
It added: “The final award with reasons will be published on the CAS website in a few days.”
UEFA said it noted there was ‘insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred’.
The governing body added: “Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and the European Club Association remain committed to its principles.”
(With inputs from agencies)
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