IAN HERBERT: Man City has escaped a European ban but it is not a moral victory

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This seems to say everything about how the wild economics of football can fine a club £ 9 million – one of the most significant sanctions ever imposed – while still viewing it as a victory.

The vital and detailed judgment of the Sports Arbitral Tribunal (CAS) is still a few days away. Yet Monday’s 377-word summary reveals enough to show that this is a technical victory for Manchester City – not moral.

CAS has canceled City’s two-season ban on European competition, either because the alleged offenses were committed too far in the past under the UEFA Statute of Limitation – which imposes a five-year hiatus – either because City’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation was simply impossible to get to the bottom of them.

Pep Guardiola and his technical team (from left to right: Manel Estiarte, Txiki Begiristain, Pep Guardiola, Omar Berrada, Ferran Soriano) had reason to smile on Monday as the two-year ban on Manchester City in the Champions League been lifted at the arbitral tribunal. for sport (CAS)

Monday's news means City is now free to participate in next season's Champions League

Monday’s news means City is now free to participate in next season’s Champions League

The news on Monday morning was welcomed by the members of the city's board of directors and the club president and co-founder of the City Football Group, Khaldoon Al Mubarek

The news on Monday morning was well received by members of the city’s board of directors and the club president and co-founder of the City Football Group, Khaldoon Al Mubarek

The club was glowing when UEFA found that it had violated financial fair play by deliberately increasing the value of the sponsorship agreements. They claimed to have been victims of the football cartel. Innocent people face a monumental sculpture. So no reason not to cooperate fully with the investigators, to establish the real facts?

They voluntarily obstructed them. The CAS emphasizes the importance of cooperation due to the “limited means of investigation” of the UEFA examination committee. But City’s “disregard for these principles and its obstruction of investigations” earned him a fine – the largest of UEFA’s since his last City conviction for violating the FFP six years ago.

Justification? Escape, rather. The optics, as they like to say in the world of public relations, is absolutely terrible.

The little important details behind stories like this tend to be overwritten these days, in the stampede for the next sound clip or 280 characters. But some of those who worked for City as their corporate structure became more and more labyrinthine during the struggle to comply with the rules of financial fair play around 2012 – more than five years ago – were surprised by this CAS judgment.

They were still skeptical of a mysterious company called Fordham Sports Image Rights, to which the club had sold its image rights revenue stream to earn a lump sum of £ 24.5 million needed to pass FFP at this moment. Despite paying the money into the balance sheet, the club continued to manage and earn image rights themselves.

Pep Guardiola had insisted that he had not lost sleep over the outcome of the city's call for CAS

Pep Guardiola had insisted that he had not lost sleep over the outcome of the city’s call for CAS

Sports Arbitral Tribunal ruling eliminates doubt about future of key men

Sports Arbitral Tribunal ruling eliminates doubt about future of key men

In addition to the lifting of its Champions League ban, City has seen its fine for violation of the FFP reduced from 30 million euros to 10 million euros, or 9 million pounds sterling.

In addition to the lifting of its Champions League ban, City has seen its fine for violation of the FFP reduced from 30 million euros to 10 million euros, or 9 million pounds sterling.

Other club members were unable to explain why their wages were suddenly paid by the City Football Group, created to provide services to other businesses and clubs in the city’s stable and so reduce the overall club payroll. These employees couldn’t see how they worked for someone other than Manchester City.

The moral of the story for anyone trying to avoid the embarrassment that the city has experienced is “do not send emails” because it was a cache leak, leaked to Der Spiegel, which suggested that the club was openly trying to inflate commercial contracts and collect image rights.

There was Simon Pearce, one of Abu Dhabi’s closest advisers, saying “we can do what we want”. City Football Group lawyer Simon Cliff insisted that the entire image rights and trade deal be titled “Project Longbow” after “the weapon used by the British to beat the French in Crecy and Agincourt ”.

It was an unedifying saga for City, however - City Football Group lawyer Simon Cliff even joked about the death of Jean-Luc Dehaene (left)

It was an unedifying saga for City, however – City Football Group lawyer Simon Cliff even joked about the death of Jean-Luc Dehaene (left)

City may have escaped ultimate punishment in a two-year Champions League ban, but the whole episode showed how no one can be considered a winner

City may have escaped ultimate punishment in a two-year Champions League ban, but the whole episode showed how no one can be considered a winner

City owner Sheikh Mansour says court victory on Monday is just Pyrrhic victory

City owner Sheikh Mansour says court victory on Monday is just Pyrrhic victory

Cliff joked about the death of twice Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, who was one of the seven UEFA financial fair play supervisors. “1 down, 6 to do,” joked Cliff. It always seemed like the dirtiest email of all. There has never been a public apology to the family of the deceased.

There will now be jubilation on the part of much of the city’s persuasion and more abuse for those who had the temerity to suggest that if you participate in a club tournament, you play by its rules – whatever rotten system you might consider.

But there is no winner. There used to be something sublime about City, a club under enlightened leadership finding new ways to reach fans, improve the game experience, break the agents’ grip and get into the game. football elite. Everything is gone. This is an empty victory and Pyrrhic.

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