The day has finally arrived. Judgement day is here, the CAS appeal will begin today.
Manchester City are accused of overstating sponsorship revenue to hide their failure to comply with UEFA’s financial fair-play (FFP) rules between 2012 and 2016. In addition to the ban, they were also fined 30 million euros ($34 million, £27 million), per UEFA’s case.
The case coming from UEFA was prompted by a series of leaked emails published by German magazine Der Spiegel in 2018 that seemed to show how City manufactured extra sponsorship revenue from a series of companies with connections to the club’s Abu Dhabi-based owner Sheikh Mansour.
Under the Sheikh’s ownership, City’s fortunes have been transformed, winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years.
It is no secret a ban would be a massive hit not only to City’s prestige, but finances and any hope of keeping manager Pep Guardiola and key players from Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling to Ederson and Aymeric Laporte.
According to the AP, City banked 93 million euros from prize money and television rights alone by reaching the quarter-finals of last season’s Champions League. That would be big money to lose out on two years in a row.
The further loss of gate receipts and commercial revenue would make it incredibly difficult for the club to meet FFP regulations without cutting costs.
Both City and UEFA believe they have the stronger legal team.
We’ll see how the arbitration plays out.