Manchester City defeated Real Mardid 2-1 in the Champions League
Manchester City defeated Real Mardid 2-1 in the Champions League Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Manchester City have had their Uefa Champions League two-year ban overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday.

CAS delivered its verdict on the English Premier League club’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competitions, due to accusations of deliberately inflating the value of income from sponsors, to avoid falling foul of FFP regulations between 2012 and 2016.

However, CAS has found no wrongdoing and Pep Guardiola's side are now free to play in the Champions League next season.

In February, Uefa imposed a fine of 30 million euros on City as well as suspending them from European competitions for the next two seasons. That fine has been maintained but reduced to 10 million euros for "failing to cooperate fully with independent investigators."

City’s fortunes have been transformed since moving into Abu Dhabi ownership through City Football Group 12 years ago — from perennially living in the shadow of local rivals Manchester United to winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years among 11 major trophies.

Yet the prize that has eluded them is the one the Abu Dhabi project most desires — the Champions League.

They will continue their pursuit of this season's title in August, when they take on Real Madrid in their second leg of their tie at the Etihad. City hold a 2-1 advantage from the first leg.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Image Credit: AFP

City's win guarantees tens of millions of dollars in Uefa prize money next season. It also protects against players leaving to seek Champions League action with another club.

Guardiola had pledged to stay in Manchester "no matter what happens" in the courts.

"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," City said in a statement.

UEFA punished Man City in February for "serious breaches" of finance monitoring rules and failing to cooperate with investigators. The allegations included that City misled Uefa over several years to meet financial integrity rules - known as Financial Fair Play - required to enter European club competitions.

City denied wrongdoing, and said it had "irrefutable evidence" the claims were not true.

City's win will raise doubts about the future of Uefa's Financial Fair Play programme, created in 2009.