Man City get lucky as FFP cheating was ‘time-barred’ legally

It has been announced that Manchester City’s two-year Champions League will be overturned. Their only punishment for cheating Financial Fair Play will be a mere £10m fine.

The original fine was £30,000 and disqualification from European football, but this have been thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sparking a furious reaction on social media.

From reading UEFA’s statement, we learn that City cannot be legally prosecuted because many of City’s breaches occurred between 2012-2016 which is more than five years ago.

“UEFA takes note of the decision taken by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reduce the sanction imposed on Manchester City FC by UEFA’s independent Club Financial Control Body for alleged breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations.

“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.

“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.

“UEFA will be making no further comments on the matter.”

Times journalist Henry Winter raises a brilliant point. Why would UEFA challenge and fight this now and not before?

This may suggest claims ‘FFP is dead’ are premature because UEFA appear to be the ones at fault — not prosecuting City earlier when the punishment would have been more fierce.

£10m is nothing to City’s owners and they will celebrate today’s announcement. Now they won’t need to fear so much about losing key players and it doesn’t change Pep Guardiola’s aim to win the Champions League with them.

Clubs who follow the rules will feel disgust this morning. I know we do as football fans.

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