Manchester City have seen their two-year ban from UEFA competitions overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The club were initially fined €30million and suspended from all UEFA competition for two-years following breaches of FFP rules and obstructing the investigation into their wrongdoings. The club immediately denied such accusations and vowed to fight the punishments. Their initial appeal was rejected but the CAS have now accepted their appeal and overturned the sanctions.
The club will now only pay a €10million fine, while they will still be able to compete in the Champions League.
That means after winning their game against Brighton this past weekend, they have secured their place in Europe’s premier club competition next season after guaranteeing a second-place finish.
An interesting line in the CAS statement revealed that while there is evidence of City’s wrongdoings, some of them were “time-barred” as they happened over five years ago. This means that Manchester City can’t be prosecuted or punished for what they did.
The decision means that the Premier League will have it’s traditional Top 4 places in next season’s Champions League, meaning two of Leicester, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves will miss out. The chasing clubs had been hoping the ban would be upheld, which would allow fifth place in the league to take their place and qualify.
With that now not an option, the final three games of the season take on even more meaning for the four clubs who will play each other on the final day of the season.
Whilst I believe it’s not a surprise that the ban has been overturned, it is disappointing. FFP has been put in place for a number of years now and Man City have clearly broken the rules. For them to escape punishment is a kick in the teeth to clubs around Europe who have worked tirelessly to follow these rules for risk of sanction.
FFP is essentially non-existent to top clubs at this point and needs to be re-evaluated if it is to have the desired effect in the future.