June 7 – Manchester City, desperate not to be punished by UEFA as they chase winning Europe’s premier club trophy, have filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to block UEFA’s pursuit of a Champions League ban for violating Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
City said the appeal was against decisions taken by the Investigatory Chamber of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) regarding “alleged non-compliance with UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations.”
UEFA opened an investigation in March after German publication Der Spiegel reported City’s Abu Dhabi owners had inflated sponsorship agreements to comply with FFP requirements.
Reports alleged City deliberately misled UEFA so they could meet FFP rules requiring clubs to break even. But City have long insisted that accusations of financial irregularities “remains entirely false” and they are confident of a positive outcome.
Last month, multiple reports said UEFA investigators wanted City thrown out for at least one season if they are found guilty of misleading the authorities.
The reports came just 24 hours after City pipped Liverpool for the Premier League title and claimed UEFA’s club financial control body, led by chief investigator Belgian Yves Leterme, was recommending a Champions League ban.
One of the allegations is that money received by Manchester City disguised as sponsorship payments was in fact pumped in by the Abu Dhabi United Group which owns the club, outlawed under Financial Fair Play rules.
Already back in 2014, City were handed a £49 million fine for circumventing FFP regulations but were given back £33.4 million of that three years later after meeting the requirements of the sanctions initially imposed on them.
According to Der Spiegel in November, City had breached FFP rules by €188 million in that year.
In its appeal to CAS, City said the CFCB IC referral ignored “a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City to the Chamber.”
CAS said in a statement: “The appeal is filed against decisions taken by the Investigatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body regarding [the club’s] alleged non-compliance with UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
“An arbitration procedure will now be initiated and will involve an exchange of written submissions between the parties while a panel of Cas arbitrators is convened to hear the appeal.”
“Once the Panel has been formally constituted, it will issue a procedural calendar. It is not possible to say at this time when the Arbitral Award for this matter will be issue,” said CAS.
CAS offered no further details but the The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that City is challenging the legitimacy and haste of the investigation.
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