Manchester City will learn their Champions League fate at 9.30am TODAY with the Court of Arbitration for Sport poised to announce its verdict over the club’s appeal against their two-year ban
- Manchester City have been locked in a battle with UEFA after their European ban
- City were banned from Europe for two years for breaching Financial Fair Play
- They appealed against the punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
- Pep Guardiola and his side will find out the result of their appeal at 9.30am today
- Chelsea, United and Wolves could potentially benefit from the ban being upheld
Manchester City’s long and agonising wait will be over on Monday morning as the result of their appeal against a two-year Champions League ban is revealed.
It is set to be one of the most pivotal days in City’s history – if they fail to have the ban overturned, not only will it cost the club potentially £170million in lost revenue but it could also spark the end of the Pep Guardiola era.
The result of the appeal will have major implications in the Premier League and across Europe too, with Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United in particular waiting with bated breath for the announcement. If the ban is upheld then those clubs will only have to finish in fifth place this season to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Manchester City will learn the fate of their Champions League’s ban at 9.30am today
Pep Guardiola insists he hasn’t lost any sleep over the outcome of City’s appeal to CAS
City had appealed against their two-year ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), handed down to them in February by UEFA for breaches of club licensing and financial fair play regulations.
The club has always denied any wrongdoing and are confident they will be exonerated once the verdict is announced at 9.30am.
City had their appeal heard last month and manager Guardiola insists he has not lost any sleep over the decision, which could cost City around £170m in lost revenue – based on TV and prize money, plus gate receipts, although the latter is in doubt anyway due to the coronavirus pandemic – if their appeal is rejected.
As well as their two-year ban, City were also hit with a fine of almost £27m but the fear of a mass player exodus is even more worrying for the club.
City’s biggest stars – including Kevin De Bruyne, who at the age of 29 is in the final peak years of his career, and Raheem Sterling – could decide to leave last year’s Premier League champions if the ban is upheld or even reduced to a one-year suspension.
Even more importantly, Guardiola, perhaps the greatest manager in the game today, could also decide that he cannot do without competing among the elite.
However, Guardiola himself has insisted that he hasn’t lost any sleep over the decision and is confident City will be playing in the Champions League next season.
Kevin De Bruyne and City’s biggest stars could end up leaving if the ban is upheld
Following City’s thrashing of Brighton on Saturday, Guardiola said: ‘I am going to sleep because I cannot do anything.
‘I am confident in the club, I know the arguments, the defence they have and in the next season we are going to be in the place where we won on the pitch this season.
‘I know there are many teams in the Premier League waiting too – but we are going to wait for what is happening on Monday.’
Champions League expulsion for City would mean a fifth-placed finish will be sufficient to qualify for the competition, as City sit well clear of the rest in second place in the table, behind only champions Liverpool.
Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Sheffield United, Wolves, Tottenham and Arsenal, who are respectively placed third down to ninth in the table, could potentially benefit from the ban being upheld due to the shift in requirement for Champions League and Europa League qualification.
Last season’s Premier League winners lead 2-1 in their Champions League tie with Real Madrid
UEFA’s club financial control body had originally found that City had committed a ‘serious’ breaches of the organisation’s FFP rules between 2012-16.
The investigation followed claims in German magazine Der Spiegel, based on leaked documents, that City’s owner Sheikh Mansour was topping up the value of sponsorship agreements, in breach of FFP rules.
City always denied the magazine’s claims and described the investigation as ‘flawed’ due to the leaked documents.
Guardiola’s team remain in contention in this season’s Champions League. They lead 2-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie against Real Madrid.
Although City have never filled their potential in the club game’s most prestigious competition, every one of Europe’s top clubs would be happy to see a team of such talent removed from their path in the next two years without a ball being kicked.