CAS Decision May Spark Manchester City’s Champions League Run

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On 13 July, the Court of Arbitration for Sport lifted Manchester City’s two-year ban from European football.

CAS found that Manchester City “did not disguise equity funding as sponsorship contributions but did fail to cooperate” with authorities from the Union of European Football Associations. As a result, the club would be forced to pay a €10 million fine. The final report containing the full verdict is forthcoming. (Per The Athletic, it is unlikely UEFA will appeal this decision to the Swiss federal court.)

Manchester City have had a troubled relationship with UEFA for nearly a decade. The hardships began during the 2011/12 Champions League season. During a group stage match against Portuguese club Porto, the Porto fans racially abused Mario Balotelli, and UEFA fined the Portuguese club €20,000 for this racial abuse.

Following this match, Manchester City would be dumped into the Europa League, where they faced Portuguese club Lisbon. During this match, Manchester City’s halftime talk ran over the allotted period, and the Sky Blues returned to the pitch a minute late, thus delaying the start of the second half.

UEFA fined Manchester City €30,000 for their late arrival. It is City’s exposure to UEFA in these two instances, and how the European football body addressed the situations, that led to their feud.

The relationships intensified during the 2013/14 season. Before Manchester City’s away match against CSKA Moskva during the group stage, UEFA punished the Russian club for “racial abuse from their supporters” for a previous incident.

UEFA ruled that CSKA’s fans would not be allowed to attend the match, but extended the ban on Manchester City, weeks after supporters of the Sky Blues had purchased tickets, hotels, and flights for the match.

Then, on the day of the match, “hundreds of CSKA fans” still entered the stadium, meaning the ban had not been upheld. CSKA were not fined for this violation.

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