Manchester City have come under intense fire in recent times. From all of UEFA, rival clubs, their managers and fans alike, it has been the same story.
Despite going to great lengths to prove their innocence after receiving a two-year ban from UEFA for offences they did not commit, many are still not convinced.
When City were banned from the Champions League for two seasons in February after being found guilty by UEFA of breaching FFP rules, many rival clubs celebrated.
Determined to prove their innocence, the club swiftly launched an appeal against the ruling. An appeal was filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
CAS meticulously looked at all the evidence in the case and reached a final decision that was announced on July 13. Little did the club faithful know how ... many rival clubs will condemn the judgement.
It has clearly been a case of these clubs wanting Manchester City to be punished (maybe even disappear) regardless of whether they did anything wrong.
It, then, came as a surprise when eight of England’s 20 top-flight clubs wrote to UEFA earlier this year to strongly object City’s request that their punishment be ‘stayed’ while their appeal process against the two-year ban was still ongoing.
How could the clubs be so united against City?
“That’s what it is, as simple as that. The ruling is nothing to do with me, I don’t know the ins and outs of it, all I know is that there is one less place available,” said Sean Dyche.
So for these clubs, City is a threat. The club is occupying a place that could otherwise be theirs. The club is making things more difficult for them.
Of course, that’s understandable. I mean if City’s ban was upheld, Leicester would play Champions League football next season. Wolves would be in the Europa League.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho labeled the decision a disgrace.
“I think it’s going to be the end of the Financial Fair Play, because there is no point.
“If City are not guilty, the decision is a disgrace. If City are guilty, the decision is also a disgrace.
“It’s a disgraceful decision because if City are not guilty of it then you are not punished with €10m.
“If you’re not guilty you shouldn’t have a fine. If they are guilty the decision is also a disgrace and you should be banned from the competition.
“I don’t know if Manchester City are guilty or not, but either way it’s a disgraceful decision,” the former Chelsea gaffer stated.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp held the same view even though he tried to sugar-coat his answer here and there when asked his opinion. Yet, he revealed how he really felt about City getting cleared of wrongdoing.
“From a personal point of view I’m happy City can play Champions League next year, they don’t have 10-12 games less now in Premier League - no other team would have had a chance in the league.
“I don’t think it was a good day for football yesterday, to be honest,” Klopp said.
The big question is, why was it a bad day for football? What if Liverpool were wrongly accused and went to court to prove their innocence? Would a positive verdict be bad for football?
The same applies to clubs outside of England. Clubs like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are afraid Man City’s presence because it makes it more difficult for them to win the Champions League.
It’s not surprising then, that their leaders are very outspoken against the Blues.
“Overall, it was not a good day for football. It is also a setback for UEFA.
“I would recommend Manchester City to stop celebrating. If you read the reasoning for the judgment, you can see that just the evidence was not valid enough. In fact, celebration should be forbidden.” - said Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge blamed UEFA for the out. For him, the result was because of its handling of the case.
“I believe the final decision made by CAS was an outcome because the UEFA panel responsible for Champions League matters didn’t do a great job, it’s looking like,” the Bayern chief told a press conference.
“What I heard from different sources is that it was not well organised in advance.”
Representing Spanish football, La Liga president Xavier Tebas was even more blunt.
“Manchester City will be in the Champions League next season not because they have acted correctly, but rather because CAS is wrong. In fact, CAS has fined them €10m, that is not just for the sake of it. From what I’ve read I gather it is because they didn’t cooperate with UEFA. Why is that?” Tebas said while speaking to ESPN
One common notion all of the critics have is that Man City is guilty as charged. To them, the facts don’t matter. Just do away with Manchester City!
Here’s the problem. No club should be hated for existing or taking their place on the table. Manchester United will not be. Neither will Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal. City certainly should not be.
On the continent, the Champions League is not reserved for the traditionally elite clubs. Real Madrid should not be winning the competition with out a challenge. Neither should others who have already won it like Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern, Dortmund or Juventus.
Newcomers should be given a chance to invest like the old guard did and compete on the pitch.
That includes Man City, Paris Saint-German and more like them.
As for City, it’s now clear; the hate will not stop the club.