Manchester City will set out their case to overturn a two-season Champions League ban from Monday.
The Premier League champions were sanctioned by the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA’s club financial control body in February for a breach of financial fair play (FFP) regulations, with the ban accompanied by a fine of 30 million euros (just under £27million).
The CFCB concluded City had committed a “serious” breach of club licensing and FFP rules by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016”, adding that the club “failed to co-operate in the investigation”.
UEFA takes note of the decision of the independent Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), issued today, relating to Manchester City Football Club…— UEFA (@UEFA) February 14, 2020
City immediately indicated their intention to appeal against what they said was a “flawed and consistently leaked process”, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will now hear their appeal between Monday and Wednesday.
The investigation followed claims in German magazine Der Spiegel, based on leaked documents, that City’s owner Sheikh Mansour was topping up the value of sponsorship agreements, in breach of FFP rules. City denied the magazine’s claims.
City and UEFA will both be hoping for a swift outcome at CAS, in order to give clarity to who will represent England in the 2020-21 Champions League. It is unlikely that a judgement will be handed down until July at the earliest.
The club sought to have the FFP investigation halted while it was in progress, but CAS ruled in November last year that that appeal was “inadmissible” because at that stage the CFCB had not determined what, if any, sanctions City should face.
City argued in that initial appeal, in court documents released earlier this year, that the decision of the CFCB’s investigatory chamber to refer the case to the adjudicatory chamber had been taken “improperly and prematurely”.
They also said UEFA had breached confidentiality during the probe, alleging that journalists were being briefed by people with knowledge of the case.
CAS did find that City’s appeal was “not without merit” and that the alleged leaks were “worrisome”.
The chief investigator at the CFCB, Yves Leterme, took issue with City’s allegations that confidentiality was breached in a letter to the club sent in May last year.
“I must vehemently reject your allegations of unlawful activities, either by myself or by any of the members of the UEFA CFCB,” he wrote.
“Your allegations are groundless in the merits and unacceptable in tone.”
City were fined in 2014 for an earlier breach of the FFP regulations.
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