Manchester City will take part in the Champions League next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted the club’s two-year ban from European football.
Man City were handed a two-year suspension by UEFA’s club financial control body in February for breaching club licensing and financial fair play regulations.
In its initial statement confirming City’s punishment, UEFA reported it found the Premier League club guilty of “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016”.
After hearing evidence over the course of three days in June, CAS has overturned the suspension and reduced City’s initial €30m fine to €10m after finding “most of the alleged breaches reported were either not established or time-barred”.
A statement from CAS read, “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 MCFC’s failure to co-operate with the CFCB’s investigations alone”.
“However, considering the financial resources of MCFC, the importance of the cooperation of clubs in investigations conducted by the CFCB because of it limited investigative means and 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 to the amount of 10 million EUR”.
Manchester City “welcome” ruling.
Man City is now free to participate in the Champions League next season having secured second place in the Premier League.
The defending champions welcomed the decision in a statement that read, “whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the 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”.
UEFA “remain committed” to Financial Fair Play
Despite the decision, UEFA and the European Club Association “remain committed” to the FFP principles.
“UEFA takes note of the decision taken by the CAS to reduce the sanction imposed on Manchester City by UEFA’s independent club financial control body for alleged breaches of the UEFA club licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations”. The statement read.
“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that 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 due to the five-year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.
“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 ECA remain committed to its principles.”