UEFA found Manchester City guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, earlier in February. They were accused of over-inflating sponsorship deals to disguise funds which were pumped into the club by owner Sheikh Mansour.
Manchester City were banned from all European competitions including the UEFA Champions League for the next two seasons and was also fined €30 million. But, City had always stated that they were not guilty of breaching the FFP rules. They appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the ban imposed by UEFA.
CAS gave the verdict in favour of Manchester City. The European competitions ban had been lifted and the penalty of €30 million had been reduced to €10 million. City finished second in the Premier League table, which means they will be allowed to take part in the Champions League next season.
Manchester City beat Real Madrid in the round of 16 but were knocked out by Lyon in the Champions League quarter-finals. They are determined to try again next season and succeed in the Champions League.
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said that City did not carry a grudge and would rather focus on trying to win the Champions League.
Khaldoon told mcfc.co.uk: “Life is too short to carry grudges. It is an important competition. It is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world of sports and it is a competition we want to win, and we have to respect in order to win.”
“This was a challenge, it’s behind us, end of story. I am focused on one thing – how I can help this club compete in this competition and win it and how to have a constructive relationship with UEFA, I think it’s the only way to go.”
UEFA president Alexander Ceferin revealed in an interview that he was not happy with CAS’ decision. He said: “Nobody wants to lose a case. We were not happy with the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But we have to respect the decision of the body that we agreed is the last instance in our decision-making process.”
“It (FFP) is not dead and again, Financial Fair Play was successful in this case, here were some procedural things, obviously that were decisive.”
When Ceferin was asked about appealing to the Swiss federal court, he replied: “I don’t want to enter that.”
UEFA could potentially appeal the CAS ruling at the Swiss Federal Tribunal. But according to sports lawyer Daniel Geey, it is extremely unlikely that the decision would be overturned, so it’s a big victory for Manchester City.
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