Manchester City's two-year ban from the UEFA Champions League could be suspended until the 2021/22 season because the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are struggling to find time to deal with their appeal.
The Cityzens were hit with the ban for Financial Fair Play breaches, but they quickly lodged an appeal with CAS which means that their punishment is suspended until their appeal is heard and debated.
Normally, that wouldn't be a problem. However, CAS also deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on football, and given that European football has been thrown into complete disarray because of the pandemic, AS note that they have a whole lot of cases to work through.
City had hoped for an early hearing but have already been knocked back, with CAS struggling to find time in their busy schedule to deal with what could be a lengthy legal battle over City's European future.
Not only do CAS have to find a time to actually hear the initial appeal, but they must then spend days, weeks or months debating the ruling with City's legal team, before then taking another spell to finalise a ruling.
"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
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UEFA must know which sides are set to compete in the Champions League by 26 August, so if City's appeal cannot be heard, debated and finalised before then, then City will likely be permitted to play in the 2020/21 Champions League.
City chief executive
Pep Guardiola's side are one of the favourites to win the Champions League this season. They are on track to make it through to the quarter-final, having picked up a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 clash.