Premier League Manchester City’s two-year ban from the Champions League has been overturned on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
City in February were found guilty by the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Bold (CFCB), of “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016″.
The investigation also revealed that Pep Guardiola’s side ‘failed to cooperate in the investigation” and were given a ban from European competitions for the next two seasons an also fined €30million (£26.9 million).
That ban has now been lifted with the former English champions set to compete in the Champions League next season, after CAS gave their verdict on the case on Monday, following an appeal by City. The fine has also been reduced to just €10 million (£8.9 million).
“The CAS award emphasized that most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred,” read a statement from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“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.
“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 €10m.”
City also responded to the verdict with a statement on the website which 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.”
Guardiola’s team have already booked a place in the 2020/21 Champions League season, and remain in this term’s edition with a second leg game of their last-16 tie with Real Madrid to come.
The Premier League top four hopefuls who were looking to capitalise of City’s ban have now suffered and a blow to their plans, while UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules also suffer a blow.