Manchester City WIN their battle against UEFA as two-year Champions League ban is OVERTURNED after CAS rule they did not break FFP rules… and result is a major blow to Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester
- Manchester City have had their two-year Champions League ban overturned
- Club had appealed initial decision to ban them at Court of Arbitration for Sport
- And now Pep Guardiola and Co can breathe a huge sigh of relief at latest news
- It is bad news for likes of United, Chelsea and Leicester, who must now finish in the top four if they wish to play in the Champions League next season
- Man City reaction LIVE: All the latest news as it happens in Sportsmail’s blog
Manchester City have won their battle with UEFA and their European ban has been lifted.
The Premier League club were banned from European football for two years in February after UEFA found they had committed ‘serious breaches’ of its Financial Fair Play regulations.
City, adamant that they had done nothing wrong, appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who heard the case last month.
Manchester City have won their appeal against UEFA’s two year ban from European football
Any ban could have had huge repercussions for the club, with some players likely to leave
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).
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.
Ahead of their appeal, City said they had ‘irrefutable evidence’ to support their case.
Manager Guardiola had insisted he has not lost any sleep over the initial decision, which could have cost City around £170m in lost revenue – based on TV and prize money, plus gate receipts, although the latter is in doubt anyway due to the coronavirus pandemic – if their appeal was rejected.
Perhaps more worrying than the ban and initial £27m fine was the fear of a mass player exodus from the club if the ban was upheld.
Manchester City will line up against the biggest clubs in Europe after their ban was overturned
City’s biggest stars – including Kevin De Bruyne, who at the age of 29 is in the final peak years of his career, and Raheem Sterling – could have decided to leave last year’s Premier League champions if the ban were upheld or even reduced to a one-year suspension.
Even more importantly, Guardiola, perhaps the greatest manager in the game today, could also have decided that he could not do without competing among the elite.
However, Guardiola himself insisted that he hadn’t lost any sleep over the decision and was confident City would be playing in the Champions League next season.
Following City’s thrashing of Brighton on Saturday, Guardiola said: ‘I am going to sleep because I cannot do anything.
Pep Guardiola had insisted he hasn’t lost any sleep over the outcome of City’s appeal to CAS
‘I am confident in the club, I know the arguments, the defence they have and in the next season we are going to be in the place where we won on the pitch this season.’
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.
Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Sheffield United, Wolves, Tottenham and Arsenal, who are respectively placed third down to ninth in the table, could potentially have benefitted from the ban being upheld due to the shift in requirement for Champions League and Europa League qualification.
UEFA’s club financial control body had originally found that City had committed a ‘serious’ breaches of the organisation’s FFP rules between 2012-16.
The investigation followed claims in German magazine Der Spiegel, based on leaked documents, that City’s owner Sheikh Mansour was topping up the value of sponsorship agreements, in breach of FFP rules.
City always denied the magazine’s claims and described the investigation as ‘flawed’ due to the leaked documents.