Manchester City European ban overturned
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) put the final nail in the coffin of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) today as they overturned the two-year ban from all European competition handed down to Manchester City in February. The Premier League giants were also handed a €30 million fine which was reduced to €10 million during the ruling as the CAS declared “Manchester City FC did not disguise equity funding as sponsorship contributions but did fail to cooperate with the UEFA authorities.”
The ruling will galvanize a City fan base that has taken to booing the UEFA anthem before Champions League games amid a contentious relationship with the European governing body. Many City fans believed they had been targeted because they dared to challenge the established elite, yet have not won a European cup, or even been in a final for that matter since 1970 despite the Abu Dhabi group taking charge over a decade ago in 2008.
In a statement released the CAS ruling “emphasized that most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB 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.”
While Manchester City had publicly remained confident the ruling would be overturned, the consequences of it remaining had to be weighing heavily on the club. It would have meant losses of nearly £100 million financially each year without Champions League football, but more importantly, could have affected the on-field product as well. Kevin de Bruyne in particular had made it clear that without Champions League football he would possibly look elsewhere.
With this ruling, FFP has officially become a joke with clubs knowing bringing them to court is all that is needed to overturn a ruling. No club in Europe will be taking them seriously and rightfully so. It’s not like UEFA are squeaky clean (just google Míchel Platini) to be able to point fingers in the first place and the fact #RIPFFP was trending on twitter tells you exactly what fans think of it.