SPORT LAW – Manchester City’s ban from European competitions
On February 14th, 2020, the UEFA published a media release in order to notify that the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has imposed the following disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club (MCFC):
- It shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (i.e. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons); and
- Pay a fine of € 30 million.
It is specified that the Adjudicatory Chamber has found that MCFC committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (hereafter, “the CL&FFP Regulations”) by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016 (i.e. basically, the period covered by the settlement agreement concluded between the UEFA and MCFC in May 2014). Furthermore, MCFC failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.
On February 26th, 2020 the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) notified on its website that it registered the appeal of MCFC. Due to the fact that MCFC exercised its right of appeal, we will have to wait the publication of the final award by the CAS before the publication of the Adjudicatory Chamber’s full reasoned decision.
CBV Avocats looks therefore forward for the CAS’s final award in order to publish its analysis of the UEFA approach in this case.
For the record, a few months ago, MCFC already attempted to challenge before the CAS the decision of the UEFA CFCB’s Chief Investigator of the Investigatory Chamber to refer its case to the UEFA CFCB’s Adjudicatory Chamber (i.e. the Referral Decision issued on May 15th, 2019) and the refusal of the Investigatory Chamber to grant MCFC’s request to suspend the investigation of the club in order to conduct an enquiry into the repeated leaking of confidential information about the investigation to the media (i.e. the Leaks Decision). In this case, the CAS decided on November 15th, 2019 that the appeal lodged by MCFC was globally inadmissible (CAS 2019/A/6298 Manchester City FC v. UEFA):
- Regarding the Referral Decision: the Panel considered that MCFC’s appeal is inadmissible because it failed to exhaust the internal legal remedies at its disposal before turning to CAS and because it failed to prove that an exception to this general rule would be warranted in the matter at hand; and
- Regarding the Leaks Decision: the Panel considered that MCFC’s appeal is inadmissible as it is not an UEFA’s actual decision, but merely a communication of information, namely a denial of responsibility for the leaks.