English Premier League football club Manchester City has had a two-year ban from European competition overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
City had appealed against a decision by the sport’s European governing body UEFA that the club had contravened club licensing and financial fair play (FFP) regulations by overstating sponsorship revenue between 2012 and 2016. The club is owned by Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) also alleged that the English club had obstructed its investigation of the issue and imposed the two-year ban and a fine of €30m.
The CAS decided that City had contravened one section of UEFA’s regulations and ruled that the club should pay a smaller fine of €10m.
But it decided that most of the breaches alleged by UEFA – including the charge of concealing equity funding as sponsorship – were “either not established or time-barred".
“As the charges with respect to any dishonest concealment of equity funding were clearly more significant violations than obstructing the CFCB’s investigations, it was not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in UEFA’s club competitions for MCFC’s failure to cooperate with the CFCB’s investigations alone,” the CAS said.
But it argued that, taking into account City’s financial resources and the fact that it had obstructed UEFA’s probe, it should still pay a “significant” fine.