City Escape CL Ban

Pep Guardiola, technical staff and his players had reason to smile on Monday as Manchester City’s two-year Champions League ban was lifted at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Manchester City have won their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over alleged financial fair play violations and are free to play in the Champions League (CL) next season, it was announced yesterday.

City were originally banned from European competitions for two seasons but won their appeal to CAS, meaning fifth place in the Premier League will no longer qualify for the Champions League. Manchester United occupy fifth in the table as it stands.

An initial fine of €30 million was also reduced to €10m following yesterday’s verdict. The CAS said that most of the alleged breaches were not established or time-bound.

The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had previously found that City “committed serious breaches” of FFP regulations—which limit the net losses that clubs can accrue over a three-year period—between 2012 and 2016 and failed to cooperate with the subsequent investigation.

City took their case to CAS on June 8 after the initial ban and fine were issued to them by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent CFCB.

Yesterday, the CAS statement said that charges related to concealment of equity funding “were clearly more significant violations than obstructing the CFCB’s investigations,” so it felt it was not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in UEFA’s club competitions.

“However, considering i) the financial resources of MCFC; ii) the importance of the cooperation of clubs in investigations conducted by the CFCB, because of its limited investigative means; and iii) MCFC’s disregard of such principle and its obstruction of the investigations, the CAS Panel found that a significant fine should be imposed on MCFC and considered it appropriate to reduce UEFA’s initial fine by 2/3, i.e. to the amount of EUR 10 million.”

A Manchester City statement yesterday read, “Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a 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.”