Manchester City Football Club have won their appeal against a two-season ban from the Champions League at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Manchester City will be free to play in next season’s Champions League.
Having found City guilty of “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play (FFP) earlier this year, Uefa banned the club from the Champions League for the next two seasons and imposed a €30 million fine.
CAS has now lifted that ban as they ruled that City did not disguise equity funding from their Abu Dhabi owners as sponsorship contributions, but did fail to cooperate with the Uefa authorities.
The club’s fine has been reduced to €10 million.
CAS wrote that many of the alleged breaches were “either not established or time-barred”, the latter referring to a five-year time limit to bring a case built into the FFP rules.
Uefa accentuated this time limit in a statement reacting to the ruling.
“Uefa takes note of the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce the sanction imposed on Manchester City FC by Uefa’s independent Club Financial Control Body for alleged breaches of the Uefa Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.
“Uefa notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the Uefa regulations.
“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and Uefa and ECA [European Clubs’ Association] remain committed to its principles.”
Manchester City issued a brief statement thanking CAS panel members.
“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the Club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present.
“The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”
The decision has knock-on effects for this season’s Premier League, as now only the top four spots will qualify for next season’s Champions League.