Pep Guardiola has this evening spoken out over the impending verdict of Manchester City’s appeal against the club’s ban from European competition.
City made an example of
The bombshell announcement regarding City’s hefty punishment arrived this past February.
First, a number of highly-reliable sources confirmed that the Premier League champions had been slapped with a 2-season Champions League ban, and hit with a £25 million fine.
This was swiftly followed by a statement on the part of Uefa, which read:
‘The Adjudicatory Chamber, having considered all the evidence, has found that Manchester City committed serious breaches of the Uefa Financial Fair Play Regulations by overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016.’
‘The Adjudicatory Chamber has also found that in breach of the regulations the club failed to cooperate in the investigation of this case by the CFCB.’
The decision on the part of European football’s governing body came on the back of an in-depth investigation into Manchester City’s financial situation.
This investigation was reportedly sparked by Der Spiegel in November of 2018, after the German publication highlighted the fact that the Sky Blues had falsely inflated the club’s revenue gained through sponsorship, in a bid to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
City’s court date set
The widespread assumption had since been that City would likely see their ban reduced from two years to one, but would nevertheless be forced to sit out next season’s Champions League.
This was, however, until the COVID-19 pandemic brought football around the globe to a standstill.
The Citizens quickly launched an appeal against UEFA’s decision to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) on the back of their sanction being announced.
The hearing process, though, was delayed by the coronavirus situation.
As a result, fears that a final decision on City’s case would not be reached before August were widespread.
Such a scenario would of course have made it highly unlikely that the English champions would be denied entry into next season’s Champions League group stages, fuelling a heavy backlash from the club’s Premier League rivals.
Premier League backlash proves Man City’s enemies spread far wider than Uefa alone
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) March 27, 2020
The likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, though, need not fret.
In a key development in the case against City, it was confirmed in May that a hearing date for the Sky Blues’ appeal had been set for the 8th-10th of June.
‘We will be there’
And, as announced this afternoon, a final verdict on the part of the CAS is set to be made next Monday.
The ruling could genuinely prove a hammer blow for the Sky Blues moving forward, with the futures of Pep Guardiola and more no doubt set to be thrown up in the air if City’s appeal proves unsuccessful.
One individual who does not appear at all concerned regarding the possibility of such a scenario coming to fruition, though, is Guardiola himself.
Speaking this afternoon, the Sky Blues boss reiterated that, based on the arguments put forth by the club, he remains fully ‘confident’ that Manchester City will in fact be plying their trade in the Champions League next season:
‘I’m so confident because I saw the arguments of the club that next season we will be there (in Champions League).’
In other City-related news, meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has also confirmed that Citizens star striker Sergio Aguero will not be available to feature in his side’s upcoming Champions League last-16 2nd-leg showdown with Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The Argentine is currently sidelined with a knee problem, and is not expected to return to fitness in time to meet Los Blancos on the matchup’s rescheduled date of the 7th of August.
Pep Guardiola has confirmed Sergio Aguero will not be fit for the game against Real Madrid.
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) July 10, 2020
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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