UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin has made a damning admission on the 115 Premier League charges on Manchester City as well as a UEFA decision made four years ago.
UEFA issued a two-year ban from European competition to Manchester City in February 2019 after ruling the Etihad Stadium club had committed “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play regulations between 2012 and 2016.
Following a lengthy legal process involving the Court of Arbitration for Sport and legal’s top lawyers, Manchester City successfully overturned their ban, with CAS announcing that the club were cleared of “disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions”.
In the process, Manchester City’s fine was also cut from €30 million to €10 million.
Now, speaking during an interview with The Telegraph this week, UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin admitted that he believed UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body were right in their own verdict on Manchester City four years ago, as well as their defence at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Quizzed on whether a verdict revealing City to be guilty of their 115 charges from the Premier League would vindicate UEFA’s own processes in 2019, Ceferin responded, “We know we were right. We wouldn’t decide if we didn’t think we were right.”
Ceferin did however go on to stress his respect for CAS’ decision to overturn UEFA’s two-year ban on Manchester City from European competition.
“As a trial lawyer for 25 years, I know that, sometimes, you win a case that you are sure you will lose,” Ceferin continued. “And, sometimes, you lose a case when you’re sure… You just simply have to respect in a serious democracy the decision of the court.
“I don’t want to speak about the case in England. But I trust that the decision of our independent body was correct. I didn’t enter into this decision.”
In February 2023, the Premier League charged Manchester City with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation, referring the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018.
The English top-flight also accused City of not co-operating since the investigation started in December 2018, while the Etihad club said they were “surprised” by the charges and are supported by a “body of irrefutable evidence”.
An independent hearing is understood to have received a provisional start date of Autumn 2024, with some in the industry expecting a verdict to arrive in 2025 or later given the severity of the charges and procedures at hand.
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