Manchester City is now free to play in the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League after the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday announced the club won its appeal of a punishment for alleged financial fair play violations.
“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement.
“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”
The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Club Financial Control Body gave the Sky Blues a two-year ban from Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) competition and a $34 million fine in February after it found the club “committed serious breaches” of regulations put in place to limit financial losses teams can have over a three-year period.
The CFCB found that City committed the breaches between 2012 and 2016 and failed to cooperate with the subsequent investigation.
The CFCB also said City overstated sponsorship revenue and “break-even information” it submitted to the Union of European Football Associations, the administrative body for soccer in Europe.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the punishment and said City “did not disguise equity funding.” The team was still fined due to its obstruction of the investigations.
City’s fine was reduced to $11 million as part of the appeal.
The awarded appeal means the fifth-place team in the Premier League standings will no longer qualify for next season’s Champions League. The Top-4 teams in the Premier League — at the end of the season — qualify each year for the tournament, which includes the top teams from Europe. City ranks second in the Premier League. The team’s previous ban meant that the fifth-place team would qualify, since the Sky Blues were not eligible for the competition.
Premier League champions Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United are now in position to clinch a spot in next season’s Champion’s League.
City who will face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League ties on August 7 appealed the initial penalty on June 8.