The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced Monday that Manchester City won its appeal to overturn a two-year ban from UEFA competitions. As a result, Manchester City will be eligible for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 Champions League seasons. The club's 30 million-euro fine from UEFA was also reduced to 10 million euro.
UEFA originally banned the Premier League club from European competitions for two years and issued the fine on Feb. 14 for alleged Financial Fair Play violations. The club was said to have overstated sponsorship revenue from 2012 to 2015. City immediately appealed the ruling and maintained it would be cleared of wrongdoing. Last month, a three-day hearing was held for the case over video conference where the team's representatives refuted the claims.
Here's part of the statement from CAS:
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 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.
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.
City has clinched the second-place spot in the Premier League in the 2019-20 season, and the club will compete again in the Champions League next season. Manchester City is also still alive in the 2019-20 Champions League season and holds a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid heading into the second leg of their Round of 16 tie. That second leg is set for Aug. 7. Should City advance, the team would face either Juventus or Lyon in the quarterfinals.
The news is obviously fantastic for the club and prevents what could have been a mass exodus of players searching for Champions League participation. It is also not so good news for Premier League clubs like Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Each are trying to get into the top four and qualify for UCL. The ban being upheld would have meant the fifth-place team would have qualified instead of City. Now that is no longer the case and the clubs fighting for fourth just received a bit of added pressure.