Secrecy behind Man City’s court challenge on UEFA ban

Geneva, Jun 6 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 6/6/2020 9:45:50 AM IST

A rare level of secrecy cloaks the court case opening Monday to decide if Manchester City will stay banned from European competition for two seasons.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has scheduled three days at an undisclosed location for an appeal hearing by video conference link connecting lawyers in Switzerland and England.

The Lausanne-based court said on Friday both City and UEFA requested confidentiality for the case. The identities of the three CAS judges, selected by each side and the court, have also been protected in an intensely scrutinized legal fight.

The allegations include that City, owned by Abu Dhabi's royal family, misled UEFA over several years to comply with financial integrity rules for clubs.

If City's appeal fails, it faces losing hundreds of millions of dollars in UEFA prize money and some star players during a two-year exile from world football's most prized club competition.

Defeat for UEFA would undermine the Financial Fair Play (FFP) policy it says helps stabilise the football economy across 55 member nations. The CAS panel's verdict is expected before the round of 16 resumes in August.

City was punished in February for "serious breaches" of UEFA's FFP rules monitoring club finances and failing to cooperate with investigators.

The investigation was opened by UEFA-appointed experts after leaked club documents were reported in German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2018.

The published evidence appeared to show City deceived UEFA by overstating sponsorship deals from 2012-16 and hid the source of revenue linked to state-backed companies in Abu Dhabi.

A UEFA-appointed judging panel excluded City from playing in the Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup until the 2022-23 season.

City was also fined 30 million euros ($33.9 million) from its Champions League prize money, almost one-third of its UEFA payout for reaching the quarterfinals last season.

The CAS, however, verdict will not affect this season's Champions League.

City leads Real Madrid 2-1 after the first leg of the round of 16 in Spain. UEFA will decide this month how to complete the competition.

-Tags:#UEFA ban

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