Manchexit: Manchester City banned from UEFA Competitions for 2 Years

March 18, 2020

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2 min read

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What's going on here?

English football champions Manchester City have been banned from all European football competitions for two seasons for serious breaches of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules relating to sponsorship. The club has also been fined €30m.

What does this mean?

Manchester City was found guilty of falsely inflating its sponsorship revenues. Its current sponsor, Etihad Airways, is owned by the club’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan. 

The airline pays a whopping £67.5m annually to sponsor the Premier League giants. However, leaked emails from the German publication Der Spiegel appear to claim that only £8m comes directly from Etihad, with the remainder coming from Mansour’s own company, the Abu Dhabi United Group. 

City has since released a statement, accusing UEFA’s process of being “prejudicial”’; UEFA adjudicated the case whilst simultaneously being an involved party. City also plans to immediately appeal the case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

What's the big picture effect?

A lengthy court battle is likely on the horizon for the club. Manchester City’s legal team claim to have “irrefutable evidence” that they did not breach UEFA’s FFP rules. Despite this, most legal commentators believe UEFA’s case is a strong one

The case could prove to be a landmark one in the world of football. If UEFA successfully defends their verdict, it sends a message to increasingly wealthy clubs that they are not exempt from the rules. If Manchester City wins its appeal, it opens the floodgates for previously sanctioned clubs to sue the governing body, such as Italian club AC Milan- it was recently banned from European competitions for a year. 

If the ban is upheld, the long-term repercussions of the decision could have a disastrous impact on Manchester City. Domestically, City face a points deduction, and they may even be stripped of past titles, such as their Premier League triumph in 2014. It has also been argued that players may have legal justification to terminate their contracts with the club, a decision that may look appealing if they cannot compete in Europe. 

Cases in the world of sports law are typically protracted. With City having lodged an appeal at the end of last month, it is likely that we haven’t heard the end of this matter.

Report written by Conor McDermott

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