Fi­nan­cial fair play Q&A What the case was all about in a nut­shell

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - Ben Rumsby

What was this case all about?

In Fe­bru­ary, Manchester City were banned from Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion for two years and fined €30 mil­lion (£27 mil­lion) for “se­ri­ous breaches” of Uefa’s fi­nan­cial fair play rules and for fail­ing to co­op­er­ate with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The club were found to have over­stated spon­sor­ship rev­enue and break-even in­for­ma­tion in ac­counts sub­mit­ted be­tween 2012 and 2016. It fol­lowed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into doc­u­ments ob­tained by Football Leaks and pub­lished in Novem­ber 2018, which al­legedly showed they had sought to cover up the scale of the FFP breach for which they had been fined £49 mil­lion – re­duced to £16.3 mil­lion – four years ear­lier.

Why was the ban over­turned?

The Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport ruled “most of the al­leged breaches” were “ei­ther not es­tab­lished or time-barred”. Cas up­held the guilty ver­dict im­posed for fail­ing to co­op­er­ate, but re­duced the fine to €10 mil­lion, rul­ing “it was not ap­pro­pri­ate to im­pose a ban for fail­ure to co­op­er­ate with the Club

Fi­nan­cial Con­trol Body’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions alone”. Its jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this and de­tails on which al­leged breaches were “not es­tab­lished or time-barred” should emerge when Cas pub­lishes its fi­nal award with rea­sons.

Can de­ci­sion be ap­pealed against?

Tech­ni­cally, Cas ver­dicts can be ap­pealed against at the Swiss Fed­eral Tri­bunal. How­ever, it

is all but unheard of for a gov­ern­ing body not to ac­cept the rul­ing of sport’s high­est court.

What does this mean for City?

It is a stun­ning tri­umph. Ex­ile from Europe, even for one sea­son, could have cost £100 mil­lion. The ban had also raised doubts over the fu­tures of man­ager Pep Guardi­ola and some star play­ers.

What does it mean for other clubs?

If the ban had been up­held, the fifth-placed club in the Premier League would have qual­i­fied for the Cham­pi­ons League.

What does this mean for FFP?

“FFP RIP” was trending on Twit­ter af­ter the rul­ing. This case was billed as a fight over the fu­ture of Uefa’s reg­u­la­tions, the rep­u­ta­tion of which had taken a bat­ter­ing due to pre­vi­ous high-pro­file de­feats at Cas – no­tably by Paris St-Ger­main. The fact both the PSG and City cases un­rav­elled partly due to is­sues over statutes of lim­i­ta­tions writ­ten into Uefa’s own rules is a damn­ing in­dict­ment of them.

What about the Premier League’s City probe?

As well as the FFP in­ves­ti­ga­tion, City were also be­ing probed by the Premier League over fi­nan­cial is­sues, academy re­cruit­ment and third-party own­er­ship. That in­ves­ti­ga­tion – which be­gan in March 2019 – re­mains on­go­ing. It has been sug­gested that the Premier League was wait­ing for the Cas judg­ment be­fore tak­ing mat­ters any fur­ther.

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