Mixed reactions have been trailing the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to lift the 2-year Champions League ban UEFA slammed on Manchester City. The sport judicial body also reduced the 30 million euros fine UEFA slammed on City to 10 million euros.
On 14 February 2020, UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) announced that Manchester City had been banned for “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play regulations between 2012 and 2016. Manchester City refused to accept the verdict and decided to appeal it at CAS. Over four months later, CAS overturned the UEFA’s ruling.
All the things people said about the club were not true – Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City said CAS’ verdict to lift the ban was a prove that City didn’t breach UEFA’s regulations. He said he is incredibly happy that the club won the appeal against all the odds.
“[I’m] incredibly happy for the decision which shows what all the people said about the club was not true and to defend on the pitch what we won on the pitch,” Pep Guardiola said.
“Like I said many times if we did something wrong we would accept the decision of Uefa and Cas because we did something wrong. We can defend ourselves. We have the right to defend ourselves when we believe what we have done is correct.”
It was not a good day for football – Jurgen Klopp
In his reaction, Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, said he is happy that the ban has been lifted because Manchester City are so good that if they had 12 games less, he didn’t “see any chance for any other teams in the Premier League”.
Klopp, however, noted that it was not a good day for football. “Financial Fair Play (FFP) is a good idea and it is there to protect teams and the competition”, he added.
Jose Mourinho calls CAS’ decision to lift the ban a disgraceful decision
Tottenham Hotspur’s manager Jose Mourinho also felt that it was a bad judgement. He stressed that if Manchester City was not guilty, they would not be fined.
“If Manchester City is not guilty of it, to be punished by some million is a disgrace”, he said. If you’re not guilty you’re not punished. In the other way, if you’re guilty you should be banned. In any case, it’s a disaster.
“I’m not saying Manchester City is guilty. I’m saying if you’re not guilty you don’t pay. Even with a pound. I know that money is quite easy for them but still. If you’re guilty you should be banned from the competition.
“I’m nobody to know if they’re guilty or not. My criticism is for the decision.”
Manchester City Deserve (no ban) – Mikel Arteta
However, Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, who was at Manchester City in the last part of the year the “serious breaches” of Financial Fair Play regulations took place said Manchester City deserved to be in the Champions League next season for what the team did on the pitch.
“There is no question about what happened”, Arteta said. “They completely deserve to be in [the] Champions League because what they’ve done on the pitch is unquestionable and the regulators have looked at it and have decided that they haven’t done anything wrong.
“So you have the two aspects that are really clear and transparent and they’re going to be in Champions League because they deserve [it] for what they do on the pitch.”
As it stands, Manchester City will be in the Champions League next season because they are the second-placed team on the league table. But before next season, they still have unfinished business in the competition. They will face Real Madrid in their last-16 second leg at Etihad Stadium on 7 August. They lead 2-1 from the first leg and will face Juventus or Lyon if they progress.