Premier League champions Manchester City have been given a two-year ban from European competition for two years. The club were found to have committed “serious breaches” of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play and club licensing regulations.
To add to that, they have also been fined a whopping £25m for their indiscretions – but the club already say they are planning to take their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) at the “earliest opportunity”.
The independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) said City had broken the rules by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016”, before going on to add that Manchester City had “failed to cooperate in the investigation”.
In a statement, Manchester City have said they are “disappointed but not surprised” by a decision they have dubbed “prejudicial”.
“The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position,” read the club statement.
“In December 2018, the Uefa chief investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun.
“The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked Uefa process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The club has formally complained to the Uefa disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.
“Simply put, this is a case initiated by Uefa, prosecuted by Uefa and judged by Uefa. With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”
This decision is such an interesting one for the Premier League – it could potentially mean that a fifth placed finish could mean Champions League football this season. This will be music to the ears of the likes of Manchester United, Wolves and Spurs – and should really heat up the race for Champions League football.
As for what it means for Manchester City, it’s something we all pretty much thought would happen eventually – but to be honest, I’ll be surprised if it sticks. The CAS appeal will likely see the ban overturned, but it could take a while as these appeal processes can be lengthy – just ask Chelsea.
They were given a transfer ban for two windows which they appealed, eventually winning their case with the help of the CAS. Despite their appeal being successful, they had already missed the summer window and then never bothered signing anybody in January anyway…
I personally won’t be surprised to see Manchester City miss the Champions League next season and then end up being reinstated for the second season of the ban. Either way, this feels like a momentous day in the history of the Premier League.
Most everyone has taken issue with the way City fund their club, has karma finally caught up with them? Liverpool and Chelsea fans will most definitely say so…