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After more than a year of being barred from Europe, Premier League top club Manchester City is now finally unbanned and once more allowed to join one of Europe’s biggest football competition, the Champions League. The lifting of the ban came after Manchester City was unable to participate in two full seasons of the Champion’s League. The decision was made public on Monday, as a three-member panel overturned the banning of Man City at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.
Last year, the UEFA, European football’s main regulating body, imposed the ban on Manchester City. The regulating body deemed the English football club to have done “serious breaches” of European soccer’s financial regulations. The club was found guilty by the UEFA of multiple violations related to club licensing and “financial fair play” rules. Man City was criticized back then for allegedly not cooperating with the UEFA. The club was fined a total of 30 million euros ($32.5 million) for the case. To date, the decision against Man City was by far the most significant punishment that the UEFA had imposed on a football club.
Manchester City officials have vehemently and repeatedly denied all of these accusations. On all occasions, the club had denied all the allegations and had remained on the strong ground that they had not violated or breached any regulations, unlike what the UEFA is accusing them of.
In their decision, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said that the breaches found through the UEFA investigations were all either “not established” or no longer relevant. The court even called the violations imposed on Man City as not being “time-barred.”
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As for the news of finally having their ban lifted, the English club did not issue a long statement, but rather simply acknowledge the huge development that will now allow them to be part of the Champions League. “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,” Manchester City said in a brief statement.
This was not the first time that the UEFA had a decision that was later on overthrown and reversed. In a previous case involving a wealthy Gulf-owned team, Paris St. Germain, the
Court of Arbitration for Sport overthrew the UEFA’s sanctions after deeming that they have acted “too late.”
When it was first imposed on them, Man City even did their bets attempt to appeal the ban? However, their efforts ended up in vain.
“Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” the club’s statement last year said. “The Club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.”