Manchester City's Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring a goal. File photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring a goal. File photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
Image: PHIL

Manchester — Manchester City’s two-year suspension from European football was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday, allowing the club to compete in next season’s elite Champions League competition.

The CAS ruled that City did not breach Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by disguising equity funding as sponsorship. Sport’s highest court also reduced a fine for failing to co-operate with Uefa, European football’s governing body, to €10m from €30m.

Most of the alleged breaches reported by the Uefa adjudicatory chamber of the Club Financial Control Body “were either not established or time-barred”, the CAS said in a statement.

Uefa ruled in February that City had committed serious FFP breaches and failed to co-operate with its investigation. Missing out on the Champions League would have cost City, which have denied any wrongdoing, as much as £100m in prize money and broadcast revenue, as well as match day and other revenues.

The FFP regulations are designed to stop clubs running up big losses through spending on players. They also ensure sponsorship deals are based on their real market value and are genuine commercial agreements, not ways for owners to pump cash into a club to get around the rules.

The CAS said its full legal ruling, with details of the case and the decision, would be published in the coming days.

“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisers are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, 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,” City said in a statement.

“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered,” the Premier League club added.

Uefa had said City had committed “serious breaches” of the FFP rule in information submitted to it between 2012 and 2016. However, article 37 of Uefa’s own procedural rules covering the Club Financial Control Body states: “Prosecution is barred after five years for all breaches of the Uefa club licensing and FFP Rules.”

Uefa said it remained committed to FFP.


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