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Manchester City’s appeal to CAS against financial probe ruled inadmissible

UEFA had opened an investigation into Manchester City over potential breaches of its Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations in March after it was reported that the club’s Abu Dhabi owners had inflated sponsorship agreements.

By: Reuters |
November 15, 2019 7:23:52 pm
(Representational image)

Manchester City’s attempt to halt a UEFA investigation into allegations that the club breached financial fair play regulations has failed after its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was thrown out on Friday.

CAS general secretary Matthieu Reeb told reporters that the Premier League champions’ appeal, made in June, had been judged inadmissible.

UEFA had opened an investigation into City over potential breaches of its break-even rule in March after German publication Der Spiegel reported the club’s Abu Dhabi owners inflated sponsorship agreements to comply with requirements.

In May, UEFA investigators referred the case to the Club Financial Control board’s judicial body for possible sanctions.

City appealed in June against that decision, saying at the time that UEFA investigators had ignored “a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City”.

The club have said that the accusation of financial irregularities “remains entirely false” and they are confident of a positive outcome.

Financial Fair Play rules are intended to prevent clubs receiving unlimited amounts of money through rich owners and inflated sponsorship deals.

Clubs who have breached the rules can ultimately be barred from European competition, but negotiated settlements are more common.

Seven-times European champions AC Milan became the biggest club to be banned when they were barred from this season’s Europa League for overspending.

Reeb said the City appeal had been thrown out because the UEFA case had not run its course. “The UEFA decision was not final, there is still another stage before and a possible final decision to be rendered,” he said.

He added that City could appeal again once UEFA had made its final decision.

Separately, City were fined 370,000 Swiss Francs ($371,150) by global soccer body FIFA in August for breaches of rules regarding the transfer of Under-18 players.

However, the club avoided a transfer ban — a common sanction in such cases — after FIFA said it had “accepted its responsibility.”

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