Following the 2-year ban placed on Manchester City by UEFA for violating financial fair play rule subject to Court arbitration of Sports ruling which held on Monday morning and have reportedly given its verdict on the issue. The Citizens have won the fight against UEFA and the European ban has been lifted.
The Premier League club were banned from European football for two years in February after UEFA found that they had "seriously violated" their financial fair play regulations.
City, firmly convinced that they had done nothing wrong, appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who heard the case last month.
And on Monday morning, they announced that City had not disguised equity financing, but failed to work with UEFA. The exclusion was lifted, while the fine was reduced from €30m (£27m) to €10m (£9m).
Sports Central believes that challenging UEFA's decision in federal courts is currently "unlikely" at this point.
The CAS announced its verdict on Monday morning, stating: "Most of the alleged violations reported by the judicial chamber of the CFCB (UEFA club financial control body) 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.'
City also quickly released their own statement and welcomed the news that they could play in the Champions League next season.
The club said: 'Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors 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.
A few minutes after the announcement on the decision, UEFA also published a statement on their website.
As cited by Sports Central, the statement read: '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. '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.
UEFA launched an investigation after the publication of pirated e-mails 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.
Prior to their appeal, City said they had "compelling evidence" to support their case.
Manager Pep Guardiola had insisted that he had not lost sleep over the original decision, which could have cost City around £170 million lost in revenue based on television and cash prizes plus gate revenues, although the latter is in any case questionable due to the coronavirus pandemic, had it been their appeal was dismissed.
Perhaps more worrisome than the ban and the initial £27m fine was the fear that mass players would have left the club if the ban was upheld.
City's biggest stars, including Kevin De Bruyne, who is at the age of 29 is close to his career peak, and Raheem Sterling could have chosen to leave last year's Premier League champions if the ban were upheld, or even would have been reduced to one year suspension.
More importantly, Guardiola, perhaps the greatest manager in today's game, could also have decided he couldn't do without the elite competition.
The Spaniard however insisted that he had not lost any sleep in the decision and was confident that City would play in the Champions League next season.
As cited by Sports Central following City's thrashing of Brighton on Saturday, Guardiola said: 'I am going to sleep because I cannot do anything. '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.
The exclusion from the Champions League on City would have meant that a fifth place was enough to qualify for the competition, since City are far ahead of others in second behind champions Liverpool in the table.
Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Sheffield United, Wolves, Tottenham and Arsenal, each from third down to ninth place, could have benefited if the ban was continued, as qualifying conditions for the Champions League and the Europa League would have changed.
The UEFA financial control body had initially determined that City had committed a "serious" violation of the organization's FFP rules between 2012 and 2016.
The investigation followed allegations in the German magazine Der Spiegel based on leaked documents that City’s owner Sheikh Mansour, had restored the value of the sponsorship deals in violation of FFP rules.
City has always denied the magazine's claims and called the investigation "flawed" based on the leaked documents..