After overturning the earlier 2-year ban imposed on Manchester City on Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) announced a reduction of the expected €30m (£27m) fine to €10m (£9m).
*MANCHESTER CITY STATEMENT*
‘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.’
And this morning, they announced that City did not disguise equity funding but did fail to co-operate with UEFA. The exclusion was lifted while a €30m (£27m) fine was reduced to €10m (£9m).
*Failing to co-operate did not warrant a ban*
Reports say any challenge of the ruling by UEFA to the Swiss Federal Courts is ‘unlikely’ at this stage.
CAS released their verdict on Monday morning, and said: ‘Most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (UEFA’S Club Financial Control Body) 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.’
City were also quick to release a statement of their own, welcoming the news that they will be able to play in the Champions League next season.
The club 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.’
Just minutes after the decision was announced, UEFA released a statement on their own website, too.
It 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”.
“UEFA will be making no further comments on the matter”.
UEFA launched a probe following the publication of hacked emails in the German media. On February 14, they announced that City had broken the rules by overstating sponsorship revenue between 2012 and 2016. Along with the ban, City were fined £26.9m.
Champions League expulsion for City would have meant a fifth-placed finish was be sufficient to qualify for the competition, as City sit well clear of the rest in second place in the table, behind only champions Liverpool.
Arch rivals, Manchester United, would have been one of the main beneficiaries of a City ban.
Chelsea will now have to finish in the top four if they want to play Champions League football.
Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Sheffield United, Wolves, Tottenham and Arsenal, who are respectively placed third down to ninth in the table, could potentially have benefited from the ban being upheld due to the shift in requirement for Champions League and Europa League qualification.