Manchester City are understood to be completely prepared for their appeal of their European ban, despite the coronavirus outbreak threatening to slow things down.
City were slapped with a two-year ban from European competition as a result of Financial Fair Play breaches, but their appeal of the ruling has been delayed as the Court of Arbitration for Sport are up to their eyeballs in more urgent cases because of the current climate.
"It is unfair and we will appeal. It is not over"— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 20, 2020
Pep Guardiola 'trusts' Manchester City in their battle with UEFA and promises to stay with the club no matter what
More: https://t.co/N85znUzZ73 pic.twitter.com/k4eGdPoiPf
As noted by The Mirror, the club's legal team is believed to be completely prepared and ready to launch their appeal, despite the fact that CAS is yet to schedule an official date to hear their case. It is expected that City may have to wait until July at the earliest, but their wait could be extended if this summer throws up any fresh issues, potentially concerning contracts or transfers.
“Our appeal has been fully prepared and the only thing we are waiting for is for a date to be set aside," a club source is quoted as saying.
“We have been putting our case together for more than a year because UEFA’s stance made it clear how this situation was going to be played out.”
It was highlighted back in March that the coronavirus outbreak could indirectly lead to City's ban being suspended for another year.
Given City have confirmed their intention to appeal, CAS must grant them the chance to argue their case before their punishment becomes active, but City have refused to comment on claims that they will demand their ban be frozen if they are unable to appeal for the time being.
Kevin De Bruyne would walk in to any team in the world.— 90min (@90min_Football) May 5, 2020
If City aren't playing Champions League football, looks like he will have to elsewhere. pic.twitter.com/w4GYtv7gDv
Even if CAS do find time to hear City's appeal, there may not be time to debate it. The case could potentially require weeks of debate and consideration, and given UEFA must know which teams are competing in the Champions League by 26 August, it may not be possible to get things finished this season.
City are 'convinced' that they will be able to clear their name and have informed Pep Guardiola and his squad that they are innocent of all charges, but there will likely be some concern at the Etihad Stadium after Kevin De Bruyne suggested he might not stick around to serve a two-year ban from the Champions League.