In an official statement, CAS said, “MANCHESTER CITY FC DID NOT DISGUISE EQUITY FUNDING AS SPONSORSHIP CONTRIBUTIONS BUT DID FAIL TO COOPERATE WITH THE UEFA AUTHORITIES”.
In its official verdict, The Court for Arbitration for Sports lifted the ban imposed on Manchester City from Participating in UEFA Competitions and reduced the fine to 10 million Euros.
UEFA in a statement 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 5 years 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.”
Manchester City also responded the verdict through an official statement stating, “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.”
Following the hearing, the CAS Panel deliberated and concluded that the decision issued on 14 February 2020 by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB should be set aside and replaced by the following:
- MCFC has contravened Article 56 of the Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
- MCFC shall pay a fine of EUR 10,000,000 to the UEFA, within 30 days as from the date of issuance of the arbitral award.
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. As the charges concerning any dishonest concealment of equity funding were 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 EUR 10 million”.
Earlier in May, when De Bruyne was asked about the ban, he had responded with, “Once the decision is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, but in the case of one year I might see.”
The club manager, however, was always optimistic and had said, “I’m confident in the club, the arguments, the defence they had, and that next season we’re going to [take up] the place we won on the pitch this season. But we have to wait. I know there are many teams [who may qualify for the Champions League instead of City] in the Premier League waiting too. But we are going to wait.”
In February 2020, UEFA banned Manchester City from European competitions for two seasons and fined it €30 million for “serious breaches” of FFP regulations between 2012-16. It also noted City had not cooperated with the investigatory process. City, for its part, accused the UEFA body of a lack of independence, noting a series of leaks to the media. It also claimed that UEFA’s case rested on what the club’s CEO Ferran Soriano described as “out of context stolen emails” published in German media outlet Der Spiegel.
Manchester City who has already qualified for next year’s Champions League will now be eligible to play. They are 2nd in the Premier League behind Champions Liverpool.
The decision to overturn City’s ban will come as a blow to Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City. The three clubs now have to fight for the remaining 2 champions league spots.