Manchester City will be able to play in next season’s Champions League after their two-year ban from UEFA competitions was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The club will nonetheless need to pay a fine, which has been lowered from €30 million (£25m/$33m) to €10m (£9m/$11m).
City initially punished by UEFA in February, when they were banned from competing in the Champions League or Europa League for 2 years and given a €30m fine for breaching Financial Fair Play guidelines.
In its preliminary statement confirming City’s punishment, UEFA stated that it discovered the Premier League club guilty of “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”
A press release from the CAS stated City didn’t overstate their sponsorship contributions but did fail to cooperate with UEFA authorities.
“Manchester City FC did not disguise equity funding as sponsorship contributions but did fail to cooperate with the UEFA authorities,” read the heading to the CAS statement.
“The CAS award emphasized that most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred,” added CAS, which will publish its full written reasons over the coming days.
“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.”
The ruling also has an impact on the clubs currently below City in the Premier League table.
If the ban had been upheld, the team finishing in fifth place – currently occupied by Manchester United – would have qualified for the Champions League, with Europa League qualification extended to sixth and seventh.