Manchester City fans will be letting off a sigh of relief this week. They will be officially playing in next seasons Champions League after their European ban has been overturned.
Back in February Manchester City were handed a two-year ban from European football. This was handed down by the club financial control body (CFCB) of UEFA. This was due to “serious breaches” of club licensing and financial fair play regulations.
Thankfully for all involved with Manchester City this ban has been lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). The club will still have to pay a £10 million fine to UEFA for not cooperating with their investigation. Me and you don’t have that sort money lying down the back of the sofa but it’s a manageable sum to say the least for City.
The CFCB have stated that the amount of money the club have claimed to make via sponsorship revenue is overstated. That their accounts between 2012 and 2016 don’t match up their claims of how much they are making off sponsorship and other legitimate revenue schemes. Spending money wasn’t the issue the fact their accounts didn’t line up was.
The CFCB has also said City have failed to cooperate with its investigation.
The Manchester side strongly denied any wrongdoing. Leading to them appealing the decision to the CAS last month.
After hearing evidence over three days back in June the CAS decided to overturn the suspension. The CAS even reduced the clubs fine from the initial £30 million down to £10 million. This was due to the CAS feeling the allegations were not established or time barred.
A little bit surprising to many. People in the footballing community expected a reduced fine along with a reduced 1-year suspension. Not many people would have expected to see City play in European football next season. But they are back in.
In a statement the CAS has said “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 co-operate with the CFCB’s investigations alone.”
The CAS seem to think the whole investigation was flawed. Manchester City fully cooperated with CAS feeling they did nothing wrong.
Of course, it goes with saying Manchester City are delighted with this ruling. They can play in next seasons Champions League. Perfect timing as they secured second place with a recent 5-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion. City are still in this year’s Champions League. Currently leading Real Madrid 2-1 in their Last 16 tie.
This scenario is unlikely, but UEFA could still appeal this decision. They can take it to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. While it more than likely won’t happen its still a slim possibility.
Financial Fair Play
Another big aspect coming out of this story is that UEFA have said they are committed to Financial Fair Play (FFP).
FFP is always a huge talking point in the football community. RIP FFP has been doing the rounds on social media since this ruling was made. Some believed it would come crashing down on big clubs. Showing you can’t buy success but that’s not what FFP is about.
FFP is not to stop big clubs spending big money. Rather its in place to save clubs from themselves. Its to stop clubs spending money they don’t have in order to chase success. Its to prevent situations like what happened at the likes of Rangers, Leeds and Portsmouth.
There shouldn’t be restrictions put on owners putting money into football clubs. Rich owners investing in clubs isn’t going to change. Especially at the top European level. Once an owner invests into a club within their means that shouldn’t be an issue. If it’s a billion or a couple of thousand once an owner can afford it that’s all that should matter.
As we all know by now football is a business. So, the fact that people believe certain teams have an advantage because they are a commercially viable brand is strange. The best sporting story winning the day for the most part don’t happen.
Even great stories like Blackburn winning the Premier League in 1995 couldn’t have happened without heavy investment from Jack Walker who took over the club in 1990. Doing things like signing Alan Shearer on a then English record fee of £3.5 million from Southampton.
FFP is flawed in its current form. By UEFA saying they are still committed to it that means its not going away. So, change up the model of FFP. Make owners commit to the obligation they have with their clubs financially speaking. Owners can’t just walk away leaving a club in a mess.
Is FFP even worth the trouble? Surly UEFA must start looking at going back to the drawing board on this one. There will be more questions now asked about FFP.
Our Final Ruling
At the end of the day UEFA don’t mind big clubs spending big money. They want big transfer records and the likes to be broken. UEFA want big transfer deals to happen so money can go from big clubs to not so big clubs.
I think some people just wanted Manchester City to be in the wrong here. But under the current rules of FFP they have done nothing wrong. They have spent money that their owners have. Money that their owners are happy to give them to make these big signings. Yes, they may have overstated on their accounts but under the current rules of FFP they haven’t done anything wrong.
People will always put this ruling down to Manchester City passing around some brown envelopes. That simply isn’t true. You can’t bride the CAS I’m sorry. If they did have some dodgy dealing with UEFA City wouldn’t of took the case to the CAS.
City Will Be Happy
At the end of the day Manchester City will just be glad this is over. They have been saved a huge blow to their reputation as a club. It would have left a big stain on the club’s success. If they didn’t have European football that would have done lasting damage.
Let’s be honest Pep Guardiola wasn’t sticking around without Champions League football. Especially with Juventus rumoured to be sniffing around him. Other big players may have left the club and in terms of brining players in you don’t have the Champions League carrot to dangle.
It will be interesting to see what City do in the transfer market now. With Manchester City back in next seasons Champions League they can aggressively go into the transfer market. Even with the finically backing the club has Champions League money will allow them to go into the transfer market heavily. While also paying competitive wages.
Its an issue that will be hotly debated. But let’s not be biased based on the teams we support. Instead look at the facts that are publicly available on the issue. Not get bogged down on conspiracy theories.
We could just all support non-league football lads none of this carry on there.
Like everything this is just one persons two cents on the issue. We would love to hear what you make of all this.