Manchester City's Champions League Ban Lifted by Court of Arbitration for Sport

The Manchester City Club Crest with a Premier League Match Ball
The badges of Manchester City and the Champions League. | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Manchester City's two-year ban from the Champions League has been overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Citizens were found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations back in February, after the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) stated that the club had broken the rules by 'overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016'.

The club were handed a €30m fine and two-year ban from European football as a result, despite strenuous denials and claims from City that they had been unfairly treated. That led the club to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in June for a three-day appeal, with this final ruling now coming some five months after the sanctions were first imposed.

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Manchester City FC"
Pep Guardiola committed himself to Manchester City, regardless of CAS' decision. | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Reacting to CAS' decision to lift the ban, a short statement on City's website read: "Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the Club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present.

"The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered."

The overturning of City's ban is fantastic news for the club from a financial standpoint, as they will now be able to scoop up the television revenue and commercial benefits that playing in the Champions League affords clubs - and will likely be able to tie manager Pep Guardiola down to a new contract. The Spaniard's current deal at the Etihad expires at the end of next season, and despite committing to the club verbally, he is yet to put pen-to-paper on an extension.

The Citizens can also forget about the headaches that might have been caused by some of their top players, had the ban not been overturned. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva had previously committed themselves to the club - no matter the outcome of City's appeal - but ensuring Champions League football is readily available is a huge lift for everyone at the club.

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Manchester City FC"
Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling will almost certainly stay at Manchester City. | ANP Sport/Getty Images

City have still been penalised by CAS - albeit minimally - as they will still have to pay a €10m fine, but the findings of the appeal say that 'most of the alleged breaches by the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA's CFCB were either not established or time barred'.

In response to the decision, UEFA released a brief statement of their own, saying "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."

Manchester United and Chelsea are in contention for Champions League qualification. | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

City's ban being lifted also has huge ramifications in the Premier League, as qualification for next season's Champions League must now be earned by finishing in the traditional top four.

Liverpool and Manchester City are in, but fans of Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United now face a tense and nervy end to the season, with three games left to play of the 2019/20 season.

Chelsea and Leicester currently occupy third and fourth, but United are hot on their heels in fifth - and could go third with victory over Southampton at Old Trafford.