Manchester City’s two-year ban from the Champions League for the breach of Uefa’s financial fair play rules has been overturned by the court of arbitration for sport (CAS).
The CAS panel further reduced the club’s fine to €10m (£9m) from €30m. In 2014, City were fined £49m by UEFA – £32m of which was suspended – for breaching its financial fair play (FFP) rules and were restricted to a 21-man Champions League squad for the 2014-15 season.
CAS in a statement said: “The central finding by the CFCB’s “adjudicatory chamber” (AC) that City’s Abu Dhabi ownership had disguised its own funding as independent sponsorship by the state’s commercial companies however most of the alleged breaches were either not established or time-barred.
“Clearly more significant violations than obstructing [Uefa’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.”
Manchester City said in a statement: “The club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the cub’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.”
UEFA said: “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.