Four-time Premier League champions Manchester City have had their two-year European ban overturned after an appeal to the Court of arbitration of sport (CAS). City, who have maintained their innocence all along, have also seen their initial £27 million fine, now reduced to £9 million after today’s successful appeal. The charges were brought against The Citizens and a ban was issued in February for the former Premier League champions after it was alleged that Man City had committed “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play between 2012-2016.
One of the reasons which lead to CAS overturning this ruling is based on UEFA’S own rules stating about FFP concerns from five years previous; the time frame of 2012-2016 is out of this of course. The ruling, although a blow to their rivals, would be a boost for Pep’s men after rumors were circulating that star players Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, and Kevin De Bruyne were going to get sold to offset the potential financial impact of no European football.
For matters on the pitch, Manchester City will be focusing their attention, as far as Europe is concerned, on their second leg tie on 7th August against LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, whom they lead 2-1 after their impressive win at the Santiago Bernabeau. Should The Blues win this game, Lyon or three-time winners Juventus await in the quarters.
After giving their ruling, CAS said they would “explain their decision in a few days.” The rest of Europe will hope it’s a good explanation because most fans feel City have got off lightly. Of course, Man City were just expressing their right to appeal, but governing body UEFA will have to really review their policy on FFP as PSG also got with a fine for a similar fine in 2014.
UEFA are reportedly said to be launching a counter appeal to that of Manchester City’s, but that won’t be likely heard before the 2020-2021 Champions League season. One thing is for sure; this isn’t the last we have heard of this case.