Manchester United and Chelsea have been handed a bitter blow after Man City’s two-year Champions League ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Pep Guardiola’s side were slapped with a two-year European suspension and fined £25million for breaching FFP rules in February.
After a lengthy investigation, City were found guilty by Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) of falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues when submitting accounts as part of the FFP compliance process.
But now City have scored a major win by winning their audacious appeal.
The stunning verdict throws the entire Financial Fair Play regime into chaos.
And it is also likely to lead to significant casualties among the Uefa hierarchy.
City appealed to the Lausanne-based court in February after the ban was imposed for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.
The Etihad club were found to have disguised millions of pounds in funding from their Abu Dhabi owners as legitimate sponsorship deals.
The findings of Uefa’s financial investigators, led by former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, were upheld by the governing body’s Adjudicatory Chamber, which imposed the suspension and a fine of £25m.
But City, who consistently maintained their innocence and insisted they would be proven right, refused to accept the punishment and exercised their right to go to sport’s ultimate legal chamber.
City made their case at a three-day virtual hearing last month.
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Man City mathematically booked their spot in next season’s Champions League by thumping Brighton 5-0.
After Saturday’s game, Guardiola revealed he believes his side deserved to be at next season’s Champions League – because they earned it on the pitch.
The City boss claimed: “I’m confident because I saw the arguments of the club that next season we will be there but we have to wait and after I give my opinion or the club will give their statement.
“[Beating Brighton 5-0] we achieved one incredible challenge, which is qualification for the Champions League mathematically.
“That is the challenge that is the minimum requirement for this club… and these players have done it for the last six or seven years.
“We deserve to be there because we won it on the pitch.
“Hopefully on Monday Uefa can allow us to play like this team and these players deserve to.”
As for this season, Man City currently lead Real Madrid 2-1 following their key win at the Bernabeu before lockdown.
They have now won their bid to host the second-leg at the Etihad after Los Blancos pushed for it to take place in Lisbon – where the 2019-20 Champions League will be finished.
Should they win, City will face either Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals in their bid to win their first-ever Champions League crown.