Manchester City could apply to have their two-year Champions League ban frozen while their appeal case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is being heard. However, the club is still keen for the matter to be fully resolved one way or the other before summer.
A UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) investigation found City guilty of breaching regulations and issued a ban from all European competitions until the 2022/23 season. The club have furiously protested their innocence throughout proceedings and will imminently launch an appeal to CAS.
The Daily Mail reports that there is still an option for City to ask for the ban to be frozen while the appeal process is ongoing.
Applying for a ban to be frozen with an appeal ongoing is something Chelsea attempted during their FIFA-imposed transfer ban, but that was surprisingly rejected by the world governing body.
If it is frozen, that could allow City to play in the Champions League next season if the appeal case isn’t fully concluded before the new campaign kicks off in summer.
However, it would only delay the ban and the club would still have to serve the full two-year exclusion from UEFA competition if their overall appeal ultimately fails.
Even though City remain confident of successfully getting the ban overturned, a swift conclusion to avoid dragging it out appears to be the preference.
City chief executive Ferran Soriano gave an interview to the club’s in-house media this week in which he which declared: “The allegations are not true. They are simply not true. The owner has not put money into this club that has not been properly declared.”
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Soriano had emailed club staff reassuring them that City are ‘confident’ of prevailing in a ‘fair and independent hearing’.
Meanwhile, manager Pep Guardiola has reiterated his commitment to the club, having earlier declared that he will stay loyal to City even if they are relegated to League Two.
“I’m confident that we’ll play in Europe next season. I’m pretty sure we’ll defend our position,” the Spaniard is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“If they don’t sack me, I will stay here more than ever. I want to stay longer than the contract I have. I want to help the club grow and maintain this level for as long as possible. Why should I leave?”