Manchester City to learn their European fate before start of next season

Manchester City and UEFA will know the outcome of the club’s appeal against a two-year European competition ban before the start of the 2020-21 season.

A ruling on the matter is expected in the first half of July from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, when the restarted 2019-20 Premier League season should still be in action, coronavirus pandemic permitting.

CAS said the exact date of the decision would be communicated in advance.

A statement from the Lausanne-based court said the conduct of the hearing, which took place via video conferencing, had met with the “satisfaction” of both parties.

CAS confirmed the arbitrators who heard the appeal were Rui Botica Santos from Portugal, Professor Ulrich Haas of Germany and Andrew McDougall from France.

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”.

City immediately indicated their intention to appeal against what they said was a “flawed and consistently leaked process”.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 19, 2020: Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola on the bench before the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and West Ham United FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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.

The timing of the announcement will allow more certainty for both sides in the dispute in terms of preparations for next season.

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.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, August 23, 2010: Manchester City's Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak (L) with Owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan sees his side take on Liverpool in his first ever Premiership match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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 initial appeal was “not without merit” and that the alleged leaks were “worrisome”.