Why many don’t believe that Man City will be banned from Europe for two years is, like most things, money buys you the very best. They will have the highest paid lawyers on the case challenging every loophole they can find. That’s why this is a ground-breaking moment for UEFA.
Do they stick firm with their Financial Fair Play scheme, or do clubs simply have too much cash where they don’t need to listen?
There’s talk that CAS might see reducing the punishment to one year as a compromise. City could cope with 12 months of not being in the Champions League, while the games governing body isn’t 100 percent undermined. Yet as much as the Champions can afford the best in law, so can the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United, Spurs and (barring Sheffield United) the rest of the current top 10 sides in the Premiership, who have joined forces in their own appeal.
You might not think it based on transfer windows, but Stan Kroenke is one of the richest men in the world.
If he wanted to, he could compete with anyone. While he chooses not to in terms of transfer fees, etc, if he feels he is missing out on millions he will fight it. You don’t become a Billionaire by being a stupid man.
With the club reporting a loss of 27.1 million he’s not going to turn his back on the massive rewards for being in the competition: 15 million for just being in the Champions League, 3 million per win, another 10 million for getting out of your group, an additional 10 million for reaching a Quarter-Final, 12 million for getting to a semi-final and 18 million to win the whole thing. That’s not including match day revenue and TV rights.
Only City know if they are guilty, that’s their issue. What their rivals are trying to do is to make the process as uncomfortable as possible. Their preference would be while the appeal is ongoing (and they could drag their feet) they are allowed to carry on in the CL, innocent until proven guilty and all that. The document their peers have signed is to stop them from doing that. They want a quick verdict so they know where everyone stands.
Let’s be honest. This isn’t a group of owners being noble, fighting for the dignity of the game. Their actions are as self-serving as Karen Brady’s suggestion that we put a line through the Premiership when, oh wait, her West Ham side are in a relegation fight.
Putting Man City out of the picture frees up a champions League spot, and it could even be vital for Arsenal in terms of Europa League qualification.
Meanwhile Liverpool would love the idea of Pep Guardiola not having the elite competition to offer to new players.
City have always insisted they knew UEFA would charge them and will prove their innocence to an impartial body and no one is claiming UEFA are squeaky clean. In the past CAS defended Gibraltar in favour of FIFA, but have also rejected Northern Ireland’s complaints about regulations for selection for the Republic so that makes them even in their decision making.
Anyone worried that CAS may have been influenced by a wealthy owner can now be reassured. You would rather upset one rather than nine surely?
If City have done nothing wrong, then they shouldn’t be concerned, but the news that nearly half of the League have signed this document removes any room to wriggle.