Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to be drawn into the debate surrounding Manchester City’s successful UEFA appeal.
City had been hit with a huge €30m fine plus a two-year ban from all European competition, but were exonerated from committing ‘serious breaches’ to Financial Fair Play rules by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday.
As noted by the Guardian, the CAS Panel of three lawyers found that City failed to co-operate fully with UEFA’s investigation, meaning they still incurred a €10m fine.
The overturned European ban means United now must finish in fourth place or win the Europa League to guarantee a Champions League spot next year, rather than merely finishing in fifth position.
Solskjaer was asked about City’s appeal and the implications for FFP while previewing United’s crucial fixture against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Thursday.
“I think other people can debate that and they want to debate that,” he said in Wednesday morning’s press conference, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
“I don’t think that’s my job. My job is to make sure we focus on the next game and do the right things.
“With Financial Fair Play, it was brought in to keep football clubs financially sustainable and I think that’s important. They give us rules there, too, that’s what we’re focusing on.
“And let other people discuss the rights and wrongs and what’s happened.”
Former United manager Jose Mourinho was not so diplomatic when discussing the decision to overturn City’s ban from European competition.
The Spurs boss gave a scathing verdict when asked his opinion, voicing his disbelief at the fact City still had to pay a fine despite the fact they were not found guilty over breaching serious FFP rules.
“It’s a disgraceful decision,” Mourinho said, as quoted by the Guardian.
“If Man City is not guilty of it, to be punished by some millions is a disgrace. If you’re not guilty you’re not punished. In the other way, if you’re guilty you should be banned. In any case, it’s a disaster.
“I’m not saying Man City is guilty. I’m saying if you’re not guilty you don’t pay. You are not punished, even with a pound. I know that money is quite easy for them but it’s just a principle. Why are you paying £8m or £9m if you are not guilty? If they are not guilty the decision is a disgrace. If you are guilty the decision is also a disgrace. My criticism is not for Man City. I’m nobody to know if they’re guilty or not. My criticism is for the decision.”
Despite City’s ban being overturned and the gut-wrenching 2-2 draw against Southampton on Monday night, United’s ability to play in the Champions League next season is still in their hands with three league games to play.
If the Reds manage to beat Palace, West Ham and Leicester City on the final day, they will ensure a place in the top four.