Manchester City have won their appeal against a two-year UEFA Champions League ban as it was overturned today by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Pep Guardiola’s side were slapped with the two-year European suspension and fined £25million for breaching FFP rules in February.
But CAS ruled that City should pay a fine of £8.9m for their “disregard” of the principle of cooperation in investigations, The Sun reports.
After a lengthy investigation, City were found guilty by Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) of falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues when submitting accounts as part of the FFP compliance process.
But now City have scored a major win by winning their appeal.
City appealed to the Lausanne-based court in February after the ban was imposed for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.
The Etihad club were found to have disguised millions of pounds in funding from their Abu Dhabi owners as legitimate sponsorship deals.
The findings of Uefa’s financial investigators, led by former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, were upheld by the governing body’s Adjudicatory Chamber, which imposed the suspension and a fine of £25m.
But City, who consistently maintained their innocence and insisted they would be proven right, refused to accept the punishment and exercised their right to go to sport’s ultimate legal chamber.
City made their case at a three-day virtual hearing last month.
And that stance was vindicated as the Court ruled that while City DID fail to cooperate with Uefa investigators, they were NOT guilty of the allegations against them.
The Court said: “The CAS award 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.”
City, originally fined £25m, were still ordered to pay £8.9m for their “disregard” of the principle of cooperation in investigations.