Manchester City will be in the Champions League next season after their two-year ban from UEFA competitions was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). City were initially hit with a two-year suspension from all UEFA competitions, plus a £25 million fine, for ‘serious breaches’ of Financial Fair Play rules. City were accused of artificially inflating income generated by sponsorship deals in order to meet FFP rules, which require clubs to break even. But following an appeal to CAS, City’s ban has been overturned, while their fine has been reduced to £8.9m.
A statement from CAS read: ‘The CAS 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 MCFC’s failure to cooperate with the CFCB’s investigations alone.’
A statement from City 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.’ A statement from UEFA read: ‘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 5 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.’ The decision has huge ramifications on the Premier League as City’s ban had meant that the team who finished fifth in the table would qualify for the final Champions League place. But following the decision by CAS, City will be in the Champions League next season along with champions Liverpool, while the teams who finish third and fourth will also get a place in Europe’s elite competition.