Manchester City have failed in their attempt to block a UEFA investigation into alleged wrongdoing regarding financial fair play (FFP), the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced on Friday.
City asked CAS to throw out a case claiming they deliberately tried to cheat FFP.
– Ogden: How City changed football forever
But CAS ruled that the appeal to stop UEFA’s case is inadmissable as all the legal avenues have yet to be exhausted.
A statement read: “An appeal against the decision of a federation, association or sports-related body may be filed with CAS (…) if the Appellant has exhausted the legal remedies available to it prior to the appeal, in accordance with the statutes or regulations of that body.
“In the present case, the decision rendered by the CFCB IC to refer a case to the CFCB AC is not final and can therefore not be appealed to CAS directly, because the AC is competent to take any of the decisions listed in Article 27 CFCB Procedural Rules, that are described as being final.”
City will now face judgement from UEFA’s adjudicatory chamber, although they can appeal any decision made there.
European football’s governing body UEFA launched an investigation into a potential breach of FFP rules in March. The Premier League champions have always denied any financial irregularity.
The probe was launched after allegations made in German publication Der Spiegel, purportedly obtained by the platform “Football Leaks,” that City circumvented rules by inflating sponsorship deals.
Der Spiegel said emails sent internally at City showed the manipulation of sponsorship revenue from Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi state-owned airline which is the naming rights sponsor of City’s stadium and training campus as well as having its name on City’s shirts.
The sponsorship was said to generate £67.5 million annually for City. But City’s holding company, the state-backed Abu Dhabi United Group, channelled £59.9m back to Etihad, according to Jorge Chumillas, the club’s chief financial officer, in an internal email to director Simon Pearce.
City were referred to the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) adjudicatory chamber and could potentially face a ban from the Champions League or spending restrictions if they are found guilty.
The club denied any wrongdoing in a statement released in May which said: “Manchester City is entirely confident of a positive outcome when the matter is considered by an independent judicial body.”
In 2014, City were punished for violating FFP, striking an agreement that saw them fined rather than banned from the Champions League for inflated sponsorship deals with companies linked to the club or their ownership.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.