For almost a decade Manchester City have been embroiled in allegations suggesting the club have circumvented UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
The wait for Manchester City and their fans is almost over because the Court for Arbitration in Sport have stated they will announce their decision at 10.30 cet on Monday 13 July.
City were found guilty by UEFA of breaking FFP rules and sentenced to a fine and a 2 year ban from European competition. City appealed this decision to CAS and the matter will be finally settled on Monday morning.
The stakes are high for both sides. Manchester City stand to suffer financial loss, reputational damage and potential star player exits. UEFA sit caught in a European club power play where the very future of the structure of European football governance stands on the cusp.
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City claim they have irrefutable evidence and many fans have felt bullish throughout, despite what has appeared at times to be a coordinated and sustained media attack. The simple fact is we will all get to see how irrefutable that evidence is on Monday morning when the findings are announced.
The time for conciliation appears to be past and the victors here will take all the spoils. Unless both sides consent to the publication to the full judgement we may never know the true matter of the allegations or indeed the debated evidence, only the outcome may ever become public.
How we have got this far seems to be a significant but often overlooked question. Other issues seem to be at play and increasingly are difficult to separate from the club.
As a prize asset of one of the richest men in Abu Dhabi, Manchester City appears to have attracted disdain both from other regional superpowers and from the old guard of vested European football interests.
Against a backdrop of war, espionage and casual racism there has been little actual detail with regards to the mechanics of our FFP failure in the reporting so far.
Indeed, most football fans are still struggling to understand what City are actually accused of and misinformation clouds their minds.
The judgement may give City fans what they seek – exoneration – but it may not. We will all have to live with the consequences for some time to come.
But to be free of the constant speculation would be a small reward at least.
The real fear though is that the casual racism and vested interests which have underpinned much of the criticism of City will not go away.
Interestingly given the UEFA prosecution was riddled with leaks to the media, this time there has been a wall of silence maintained. This will be most under threat in the Sunday media and speculation at least will be rife after 10:30 gmt on Sunday evening.
This calm interlude until Monday morning will instead be filled with amateur body language experts trying to ascertain from the way Pep Guardiola deals with the media after the Brighton match as to what the verdict is from CAS.
Oh no! Pep is grumpy. Oh yes! Pep is so so so happy!
The reality is that people may express confidence one way or another, but until CAS make their announcement absolutely nothing is certain. Never mind the veracity of the rumour, until 10:30 cet on Monday it is nothing more than conjecture.
If the worst does indeed come to pass and Manchester City find their European ban upheld then we may come to look back on this current state of limbo with fondness!
Anyway, until Monday we must simply strap ourselves in as fans and prepare for the ride ahead. Although it may be worth keeping your fingers crossed and wearing your lucky pants too.