The Court of Arbitration for Sports admitted that Manchester City had shown “blatant disregard” for UEFA’s investigation into alleged Financial Fair Play beeches and did not produce enough evidence.
However, the CAS also accepted that the European governing body of football had failed to prove that City had disguised funding from club’s owners as sponsorship income.
UEFA had earlier restricted City from participating in any European competition in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 season on the grounds that the club had broken their Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by overstating sponsorship revenue in their accounts.
The European governing body of football had also alleged that City had also exaggerated their sponsorship revenue in the break-even information submitted to them between 2012 and 2016. The Blues of Manchester were also accused of failing to co-operate with its investigation.
City were accused of deliberately inflating the value of income from Emirati sponsors Etisalat and Etihad Airways to meet UEFA’s FFP regulations, which limits the losses clubs can make to spend on player transfer fees and wages.
However, the CAS found no wrongdoing in City’s conduct and overturned the two-season European ban and also reduced the initial €30m fine to €10m.
The full judgement of the CAS, released on Tuesday, showed that the fine was imposed on City for their unwillingness to co-operate with UEFA’s investigation. The court further revealed that City had also not produced enough evidence during UEFA’s investigation, which the court believed could have restricted the governing body from banning the club from Manchester.
“The appealed decision is therefore not per se wrong but, at least to a certain extent, is a consequence of MCFC’s decision to produce the most relevant evidence at its disposal only in the present appeal proceedings before CAS,” said the court.
“UEFA’s approach in this regard is understood, because it was faced with a dilemma between trying to obtain additional evidence and having an award issued before the start of the 2020/2021 UEFA club competitions season,” added the CAS panel.
With inputs from AFP (accessed via PTI)