The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has overturned Manchester City’s ban from UEFA competitions, meaning the club will be able to compete in the Champions League next season. City’s fine has also been reduced from £25 million to £10 million.
The decision to reverse UEFA’s original decision to ban City from the UEFA competitions came after CAS cleared the club of “disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions”. City’s fine has been upheld, although reduced by £15 million, after CAS ruled that the Manchester club had obstructed UEFA’s investigation.
In an official statement, CAS said: “The award emphasised that most of the alleged breaches reported by the adjudicatory chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred.”
Rob Pollard, a club spokesperson, said: “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.”
City’s appeal came after UEFA banned the club from the Champions League
In response to the ruling, a UEFA spokesperson said: “UEFA takes note of the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce the sanction imposed on Manchester City FC by UEFA’s independent Club Financial Control Body for alleged breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.
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 [European Club Association] remain committed to its principles.”
Oliver Kay, a senior football writer for The Athletic, tweeted: “Manchester City’s two-year ban from UEFA competition is overturned and their fine is reduced to EUR 10 million. Found guilty of failing to cooperate with UEFA authorities, but NOT of disguising equity funding as sponsorship.”
The accusations made by UEFA were based on leaked emails between senior members of City’s ownership group
UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had argued ruled that City “overstated its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016”.
The accusations made by UEFA were based on leaked emails between senior members of City’s ownership group, which suggest that the club had made intentional efforts to dupe UEFA’s financial inspectorate.