Manchester City launch 11th-hour legal bid to stop UEFA banning them from Champions League as CAS confirm appeal has been submitted
- Manchester City have launched a legal challenge to halt UEFA investigation
- They have asked CAS to throw out case that they tried to cheat Financial Fair Play
- City face a Champions League ban in 2020-21 season if they are found guilty
Manchester City have asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to throw out the financial fair play case that has been brought against them by European football’s governing body UEFA.
The surprise move represents a pre-emptive strike as the FFP case has not yet even been heard by the relevant body at UEFA, the adjudicatory chamber of its Club Financial Control Board.
Last month, the head of the CFCB’s investigatory arm Yves Leterme decided the Premier League champions do have a case to answer and it is understood that he has recommended they be banned from European club competition for at least a season.
Manchester City have launched a legal challenge to halt UEFA investigation into their spending
There was never any doubt that City would have appealed against any such sanction at CAS but the club have now decided they are not going to wait for that.
In a statement, sport’s highest court said: ‘The Court of Arbitration for Sport has registered an appeal filed by Manchester City Football Club against the Union of European Football Associations.
‘The appeal is filed against decisions taken by the Investigatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body regarding MCFC’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 issued.’
City face a Champions League ban in 2020-21 if they are found guilty of violating regulations
There is a growing belief in football that City will be found guilty and face a subsequent Champions League ban in 2020-2021, as well as restrictions on transfer market spend.
By taking the case to CAS even before the UEFA judgement is passed, City are likely to delay the ruling.
UEFA’s adjudicatory chamber will probably halt their deliberations until CAS has ruled on the validity of its attempts to do so.
City did not respond to Sportsmail’s calls but if they felt they had a good chance of being cleared by UEFA it is highly unlikely they would take this course of action.
The club have previously said the referral to the judicial branch of UEFA’s adjudicators chamber ‘ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City.’
UEFA, whose president is Aleksander Ceferin (pictured), are investigating the English side
If CAS rule that UEFA does have a legitimate right to rule on City and the club are then found guilty, they could go back to CAS to appeal the judgement. But by doing so, much more information about the UEFA investigation will enter the public realm.
The UEFA investigation was sparked by leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German outlet Der Spiegel.
The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses and comply with UEFA regulations that limit spending on transfers and wages. City hasn’t disputed the authenticity of the documents.
A source with knowledge of the case told the AP that City had provided conflicting answers to some questions to investigators before the case was sent to the UEFA chief judge Jose Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues of Portugal, who also sits at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.