UEFA had banned the Blues in February for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and fined them €30 million. The Manchester club took the case to the CAS and maintained throughout the process that the appeal would prove their innocence.
The announcement is a huge win for Manchester City, who can now breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they can compete in European football’s biggest competition over the coming seasons.
It also means that the Blues can be confident that the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero will not be looking to play Champions League football elsewhere. There were rumours of a number of star players wanting to leave, alongside manager Pep Guardiola, if their ban had been upheld.
However, Manchester City’s competitors are not happy with the outcome of the investigation. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, on hearing that City would not be punished, said: "it was not a good day for football”. Meanwhile, Spurs’ manager Jose Mourinho said the ruling was a “disgraceful decision”, explaining that if Manchester City were not guilty, they should not be punished with a fine. It is understood that on March 9, nine Premier League clubs wrote to the CAS, wanting the Blues banned from the Champions League during the ongoing investigation.
In a statement, the CAS dismissed the majority of the alleged FFP breaches because they were “unproven” or more than five years old. They therefore ruled that there was “insufficient conclusive evidence” to ban the club from the Champions League. The fine has also been reduced from €30 million to €10 million (£8.98 million) because the club did not cooperate with the initial investigations. Manchester City claimed however, that this was because they believed the allegations brought against them were “prejudiced”.
The CAS ruling has dealt a major blow to FFP. UEFA have said that they “remain committed” to the principles of the system, although it is thought there will be changes to the regulations in the near future.
Manchester City are in the last 16 of this year's Champions League and set to play Real Madrid on August 7. The orignal fixture was postponed in March, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. City go into the tie with a 2-1 led, after winning in Madrid back in February.