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Manchester City WIN appeal against Champions League ban: FFP breach overturned by CAS

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manchester city win appeal against champions league ban ffp breach overturned by cas

Manchester City have won their battle with UEFA and their European ban has been lifted.

The Premier League club were banned from European football for two years in February after UEFA found they had committed ‘serious breaches’ of its Financial Fair Play regulations.

City, adamant that they had done nothing wrong, appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who heard the case last month.

Manchester City's coaching team, left-right, Manel Estiarte, Txiki Begiristain, Pep Guardiola, Omar Berrada and Ferran Soriano celebrate the news of the club's ban being overturned

Manchester City's coaching team, left-right, Manel Estiarte, Txiki Begiristain, Pep Guardiola, Omar Berrada and Ferran Soriano celebrate the news of the club's ban being overturned

Manchester City’s coaching team, left-right, Manel Estiarte, Txiki Begiristain, Pep Guardiola, Omar Berrada and Ferran Soriano celebrate the news of the club’s ban being overturned

Man City will be able to play in the Champions League next season after ban was overturned

Man City will be able to play in the Champions League next season after ban was overturned

Man City will be able to play in the Champions League next season after ban was overturned 

MANCHESTER CITY STATEMENT

‘Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present. The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.’

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And this morning, they announced that City did not disguise equity funding but did fail to co-operate with UEFA. The exclusion was lifted while a €30m (£27m) fine was reduced to €10m (£9m).

Sportsmail understands that any challenge of the ruling by UEFA to the Swiss Federal Courts is ‘unlikely’ at this stage. 

CAS released their verdict on Monday morning, and said: ‘Most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (UEFA’S Club Financial Control Body) were either not established or time-barred. 

‘As the charges with respect to any dishonest concealment of equity funding were clearly more significant violations than obstructing the CFCB’s investigations, it was not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in UEFA’s club competitions for MCFC’s failure to cooperate with the CFCB’s investigations alone.’ 

City were also quick to release a statement of their own, welcoming the news that they will be able to play in the Champions League next season.

Manchester City have won their appeal against UEFA's two year ban from European football

Manchester City have won their appeal against UEFA's two year ban from European football

Manchester City have won their appeal against UEFA’s two year ban from European football

Manchester City will line up against the biggest clubs in Europe after their ban was overturned

Manchester City will line up against the biggest clubs in Europe after their ban was overturned

Manchester City will line up against the biggest clubs in Europe after their ban was overturned

WHY WERE MAN CITY BANNED IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Back in February, Manchester City were slapped with a two-year ban from European competition after being deemed to have committed ‘serious breaches’ of UEFA’s club licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.

The allegations were first made by German newspaper Der Spiegel, who published leaking documents back in November 2018 that claimed City had inflated the value of a sponsorship deal and misled UEFA.

To be more precise, they claimed that City’s parent company Abu Dhabi United Group channelled extra investment into the club under the guise of sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi companies, as a way of circumventing FFP regulations.

Der Spiegel alleged that the sponsorship deals were not as big as declared, with owner Sheikh Mansour making up the shortfall with his own cash. 

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The club said: ‘Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present. The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.’ 

Just minutes after the decision was announced, UEFA released a statement on their own website, too.

It read: ‘UEFA takes note of the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce the sanction imposed on Manchester City FC by UEFA’s independent Club Financial Control Body for alleged breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.

‘UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.

‘Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.’ 

UEFA launched a probe following the publication of hacked emails in the German media. On February 14, they announced that City had broken the rules by overstating sponsorship revenue between 2012 and 2016. Along with the ban, City were fined £26.9m.

Pep Guardiola had insisted he hasn't lost any sleep over the outcome of City's appeal to CAS

Pep Guardiola had insisted he hasn't lost any sleep over the outcome of City's appeal to CAS

 Pep Guardiola had insisted he hasn’t lost any sleep over the outcome of City’s appeal to CAS

UEFA’S REACTION

In a statement following the news on Monday morning, UEFA said… 

‘UEFA takes note of the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce the sanction imposed on Manchester City FC by UEFA’s independent Club Financial Control Body for alleged breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.

‘UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.

‘Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.

‘UEFA will be making no further comments on the matter.’

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Ahead of their appeal, City said they had ‘irrefutable evidence’ to support their case.

Manager Guardiola had insisted he has not lost any sleep over the initial decision, which could have 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 was rejected.

Perhaps more worrying than the ban and initial £27m fine was the fear of a mass player exodus from the club if the ban was upheld. 

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 have decided to leave last year’s Premier League champions if the ban were upheld or even reduced to a one-year suspension.

Even more importantly, Guardiola, perhaps the greatest manager in the game today, could also have decided that he could not do without competing among the elite.  

However, Guardiola himself insisted that he hadn’t lost any sleep over the decision and was confident City would be playing in the Champions League next season.

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.’ 

Arch rivals Manchester United would have been one of the main beneficiaries of a City ban

Arch rivals Manchester United would have been one of the main beneficiaries of a City ban

Arch rivals Manchester United would have been one of the main beneficiaries of a City ban

Chelsea will now have to finish in the top four if they want to play Champions League football

Chelsea will now have to finish in the top four if they want to play Champions League football

Chelsea will now have to finish in the top four if they want to play Champions League football

Champions League expulsion for City would have meant a fifth-placed finish was 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 have benefitted from the ban being upheld due to the shift in requirement for Champions League and Europa League qualification.

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.

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Arsenal ace Mark McGuinness joins Ipswich on season-long loan deal with Arteta wanting defender to get first-team action

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arsenal ace mark mcguinness joins ipswich on season long loan deal with arteta wanting defender to get first team action

ARSENAL youngster Mark McGuiness has joined Ipswich on loan for the season.

The defender, 19, put pen to paper on a temporary switch on Tuesday.

Mikel Arteta has high hopes for the Ireland Under-19 international and featured him in pre-season this year, scoring against MK Dons.

He was captain and man of the match for the U21s in the EFL Trophy victory over Ipswich earlier in September.

But Arsenal are keen for the 6ft 4ins centre-back, back fit after a lengthy spell out last season, to get first-team football under his belt so allowed him to join the Tractor Boys for the 2020-21 League One campaign.



McGuiness, who will wear the No2 at Portman Road, said: “The lads have started really well, so I know I’ll have to impress and I won’t just walk into the team, but I’m up for the challenge.

“I hope that Ipswich get promoted – I think that’s the main goal for everyone.

“The experience here could be invaluable to me. I want to make the most of it and help the club achieve what it wants.

“I feel like I’ve been ready to go out on loan for a while, but I picked up a few injuries last season unfortunately. This year I’m ready to push on.

“I love to head the ball! Being my size I should be a threat in both boxes really.

Mark McGuinness scored for Arsenal in the pre-season friendly against MK Dons in August

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Mark McGuinness scored for Arsenal in the pre-season friendly against MK Dons in AugustCredit: Getty Images – Getty

“I like to be the leader and take control. That’s always been a part of my game that I’ve excelled at.

“My main priority is defending, I like to keep the ball out of the net.

“But I know this is a ball playing team and being at Arsenal for nine years that’s something in my game as well.”

19-year-old Folarin Balogun shows his goal scoring talents in under 18 game for Arsenal

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Ansu Fati signs new long-term deal at Barcelona until 2024 which includes a £367m release clause

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ansu fati signs new long term deal at barcelona until 2024 which includes a 367m release clause

Ansu Fati has put pen to paper on a new long-term contract at Barcelona and has been handed the no.22 shirt. 

The 17-year-old sensation enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at the Catalan giants last season, scoring eight goals and recording an assist for his side from his 33 appearances in 2019/20.

Now Fati –  who broke a 95-year national record earlier this month to become Spain‘s youngest ever goalscorer – has signed a new contract until 2024 which includes a mammoth £367million (€400m) release clause.

Teenage sensation Ansu Fati has put pen to paper on a new long-term contract at Barcelona

Teenage sensation Ansu Fati has put pen to paper on a new long-term contract at Barcelona

Fati scored eight goals and recorded an assist for his side from his 33 appearances in 2019/20

Fati scored eight goals and recorded an assist for his side from his 33 appearances in 2019/20

Fati’s original deal at the LaLiga outfit was due to expire in two years time but the club have tied him down to fresh terms and increased his original £211m release clause by £156m. 

The club have also officially unveiled their former no.31 as a member of their senior squad ahead of his 18th birthday next month on October 31.

That could lead to further opportunities for Fati – who had been linked with a sensational move to Manchester United earlier this year – to make up the Barcelona attack alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

The winger became the second-youngest player in the club’s history to be handed his full debut during a 5-2 win against Real Betis in August last year aged 16 years and 298 days.

The 17-year-old sensation's new deal reportedly includes a £367million release clause

The 17-year-old sensation’s new deal reportedly includes a £367million release clause

Fati's deal will take him until 2024 and could see regular minutes with Lionel Messi this season

Fati’s deal will take him until 2024 and could see regular minutes with Lionel Messi this season

A week later, Fati wrote himself into the club’s history books again after becoming their youngest goalscorer of all-time in a 2-2 draw with Osasuna.

This summer, he made his mark on the international stage, earning his first two caps for his country under Luis Enrique in their stalemate with Germany and defeat of Ukraine, in which he broke Juan Errazquin as the youngest player to score for the national team in 95 years. 

Barcelona kick off their LaLiga opener against Villarreal, and earlier this month the 17-year-old said he would do his all to impress new boss Ronald Koeman after he replaced Quique Setien.

Fatri earned his first two caps for Spain under Luis Enrique against Germany and Ukraine

Fatri earned his first two caps for Spain under Luis Enrique against Germany and Ukraine

And against Ukraine he broke a 95-year national record by becoming Spain's youngest scorer

And against Ukraine he broke a 95-year national record by becoming Spain’s youngest scorer

‘I will continue working and the coach is the one who decides,’ Fati said when asked if he can play more at Barca this season.

‘I will train hard, if I have the opportunity I will try to take advantage of it.’

Koeman could look to make Fati one of the cornerstones of this new Barcelona side, with Arthur, Nelson Semedo, Carles Perez, Marc Cucurella, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal all having departed this summer, while Luis Suarez is on the verge of signing for Atletico Madrid.

The Uruguayan striker was seen leaving the club’s training ground in tears on Wednesday ahead of his £3.7m move to Barcelona’s LaLiga rivals. 

Fati said earlier this month he will fight with everything he has to play under Ronald Koeman

Fati said earlier this month he will fight with everything he has to play under Ronald Koeman

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Lionel Messi lost best pals Luis Suarez and Vidal after Bartomeu feared Barcelona dressing room factions became too big

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lionel messi lost best pals luis suarez and vidal after bartomeu feared barcelona dressing room factions became too big scaled

LIONEL MESSI waved goodbye to Barcelona pals Arturo Vidal and Luis Suarez amid concerns over a dressing room divide, according to reports.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has overseen a rollercoaster few months at the Camp Nou.

Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Arturo Vidal were good pals in Catalonia

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Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Arturo Vidal were good pals in CataloniaCredit: Reuters

With Vidal, 33, leaving for Inter Milan and Suarez, also 33, making a tearful exit on Wednesday, key senior players have been moved on.

The upheaval, which saw Ronald Koeman installed as coach, is said to have contributed to Messi’s decision to try and leave the club.

The star striker attempted to enact a contract clause allowing him to leave Barcelona for free following their 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Fighting back, Bartomeu highlighted the clause’s expiration some months earlier and successfully warned Messi off a legal battle.

Back in work ahead of the Blaugrana’s LaLiga opener against Villarreal on Sunday, the Argentine is shorn of two key dressing room allies.

Suarez has been a close friend of Messi’s for years, the pair living close by on the Mediterranean coastline and enjoying holidays together with their families.

Neymar was another pal before his exit to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, but his void was filled by Arturo Vidal a year later.

A fresh, energetic and positive character, the Chilean hit it off with Messi.

LB GRAPHIC MESSI NEW

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According to Spanish newspaper AS, the clique the trio had formed was a motivating factor in Vidal and Suarez’s exits.

After the midfielder was sold, Messi posted an emotional farewell on Instagram, writing: “I wish you all the best in this new stage at your new club. We will meet again, for sure.”

Club president Bartomeu, himself unpopular in the dressing room, is said to have wanted a different atmosphere inside the squad.

A difficult campaign where the team failed to win a trophy reportedly opened up dressing room divides.

These two years we have shared a lot and you made yourself noticed a lot. The dressing room will miss you.

Lionel MessiTribute to Arturo Vidal

And the ensuing sales have left Messi isolated, with just team delegate Pepe Costa as a trusted ally.

The 33-year-old is understood to be friendly with the Spanish side of the squad, including Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets.

Furthermore, the introduction of former team-mate Henrik Larsson as Koeman’s assistant is hoped to help bring the cliques together.

Pique in particular is described as seeking further influence, by buddying up to young players.

Luis Suarez breaks down in tears while leaving Barcelona training for ‘last time’ as Atletico transfer ‘confirmed’

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