Manchester City will play in the Champions League next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the club’s two-year ban from European football.
In February, Manchester City were banned from all UEFA competitions for two seasons and fined AU$48 million for “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play regulations.
The stunning ban was handed down after the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) found the reigning English Premier League champions were guilty of serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations.
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The Premier League club vehemently denied any wrongdoing and appealed the decision at CAS last month, after previously describing the UEFA disciplinary process as “prejudicial”.
After hearing evidence over the course of three days in June, CAS have now overturned the suspension and reduced the powerhouse club’s fine to just $16.2 million.
As a result, City are free to compete in the Champions League next season, having secured second place in the Premier League with a 5-0 win over Brighton on the weekend.
Speaking after Saturday’s match, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he was confident the ban would be overturned and insisted his side deserved to play in European football’s elite competition.
“Today we achieved one incredible challenge, which is qualification for the Champions League mathematically,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“That is the challenge that is the minimum requirement for this club. And these players have done it for the last six or seven years.
“We deserve to be there because we won it on the pitch. Hopefully on Monday UEFA can allow us to play like this team and these players deserve to.”
In a statement, the club said: “Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisers 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.”
UEFA also released a statement explaining the verdict, stating they are committed to the implementation of Financial Fair Play.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.
Manchester City won 23 of their 35 Premier League matches this season, but were unable to stop Liverpool claiming the 2019/20 title.
— With Sky Sports and AFP