Jan 24, 2024, 10:39 AM ET
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said he stands by the governing body’s decision to ban Manchester City from all European competitions for two years in 2020, despite the ban later being overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
In February 2020, UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body found City in breach of Financial Fair Play rules after deeming they’d falsely inflated sponsorship revenues between 2012 and 2016. Along with the two-year ban, City were also handed a €30 million ($33m) fine.
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City, who had said they were “disappointed but not surprised” by the decision, contested the ruling at CAS, and in July 2020, the court overturned the ban and reduced the fine to €10m.
However, Ceferin maintains UEFA were right to sanction City.
“We know we were right. We wouldn’t decide if we didn’t think we were right,” he said in an interview with The Telegraph.
“As a trial lawyer for 25 years, I know that, sometimes, you win a case that you are sure you will lose. And, sometimes, you lose a case when you’re sure … You just simply have to respect in a serious democracy the decision of the court.
“I don’t want to speak about the case in England. But I trust that the decision of our independent body was correct. I didn’t enter into this decision.”
Aleksander Ceferin believes UEFA were right to ban Manchester City for two years from the Champions League in 2020. Getty
City hailed the CAS ruling as “a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present” but the scrutiny over their financial dealings hasn’t lessened since.
In February 2023, City were charged by the Premier League with 115 breaches of financial regulations between 2009 and 2018 and referred the club to an independent commission.
No decision has been reached on City’s charges, however, in the period since, Everton have been handed a 10-point deduction for violating the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.
Along with Nottingham Forest, the Merseyside club were charged with a further breach of the same rules earlier this month.
City boss Pep Guardiola has urged patience over City’s charges and said the club’s case is completely different to Everton’s. However, Ceferin said he understood fans’ frustration over the delay in judgement.
“They want to know what’s going on and what are the consequences but I don’t want to enter into this concrete process because I don’t know what the Premier League is dealing with. I really don’t want to criticise, or something like that. It wouldn’t be fair.”