After keeping their place within next season’s Champions League, Manchester City were seen to have somewhat got away with alleged breaches of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, though the Court of Arbitration for Sport has today fully revealed the reasons behind their decision.
The Citizens were facing a two-year expulsion from European competition as well as a £30 million fine having been found guilty by UEFA of overinflating the value of their sponsorship deals following a series of leaked emails by German publication, Der Spiegel.
City maintained their innocence throughout the process and took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who earlier this month overturned the ban and reduced their fine to £10 million, with the initial report stating that the allegations were ‘either not established’ or were ‘time-barred’.
CAS has now produced a 93 page document to reveal the full reasoning behind their findings, stating: “The majority of the panel finds that MCFC’s failure to cooperate with the CFCB’s investigation is a severe breach, and that MCFC is to be seriously reproached for obstructing the CFCB’s investigations.”
CAS also said that UEFA’s charges were not “frivolous”, and the governing body had a “legitimate basis to prosecute” based on the leaked emails which appeared to show the clubs ownership overstating the value of their sponsorships through their other Middle East based businesses, specifically Etihad Airways and communications company Etisalat.
However, the panel judged that “any alleged MCFC wrongdoing with respect to the Etisalat payments is time-barred”, while alleged wrongdoing regarding payments from Etihad were either “partially time-barred” and “not established”.
The report did have a damning indictment of City’s behaviour during the investigation though, saying that their refusal to cooperate with CFCB investigators should be “strongly condemned”, with their fine hopefully serving as a “sufficiently strong deterrent” to other clubs who must comply with UEFA’s FFP protocols and subsequent investigations.
They also described the club’s refusal to produce the original copies of the leaked emails as “particularly serious”, stating that the decision to award a £10 million penalty was down to the clubs “blatant disregard” of the investigations of the Club Financial Control Body.