Manchester City’s attempt to overturn their Champions League ban began on Monday as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will start hearing its appeal against the decision by UEFA. The three-day hearing in Switzerland will determine whether UEFA was right to punish the English football club for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. Manchester City’s high profile legal team will argue their case in front of three judges via video conferencing. The decision may take weeks and is expected to come before the scheduled Champions League restart in August.
Why did UEFA ban Manchester City from the Champions League?
UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had found the club to be in breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. Manchester City were banned from taking part in European football for two years and fined them €30m (£26.06m).
According to UEFA, Manchester City were found to have overstated sponsorship revenue and break-even information in accounts submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.
Manchester City deny any wrongdoing and have repeatedly claimed they have a “comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence” to support their position.
What happens if the ban on Manchester City is upheld?
If the CAS upholds the ban on Manchester City, it will mean that the team that finishes fifth in this year’s Premier League will qualify for the Champions League next season. The sixth and seventh-placed clubs would qualify for the Europa League.
However, the bigger effect may well be on the club’s future. According to reports, missing out on European football would result in a loss of revenue of about £200m for the club. Many players may decide to move on in search of opportunities to play European football. Additionally, transfer targets may also be reluctant to join the club. Kevin De Bruyne has already admitted he may be forced to consider his future if the full two-year ban is upheld.
What is CAS?
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an independent body based in Lausanne in Switzerland, is the highest authority in the world for the resolution of legal battles between sporting parties.