Court ruling shows Premier League still investigating Manchester City over FFP

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Manchester City lost an appeals court ruling, which confirms the Premier League continue to investigate the champions for alleged financial fair play violations, with one of the judges saying that part of the argument of the club was “entirely fanciful”.

City’s legal team did not want them to report that they were contesting the competence of Premier League referees to investigate the case and that they were also fighting a request to disclose documents and information to the panel .

In March 2019, the Premier League said it was investigating City, as UEFA had already done. As with the governing body of European football, the league was interested in leaks in the German publication Der Spiegel which claimed the violation of the rules.

Last summer, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned City’s two-season ban in the UEFA Champions League, saying “most of the alleged violations were not established or prescribed”.

This, however, did not deter the Premier League, as Tuesday’s decision points out. City had appealed after a High Court judge ruled against the club over reporting their dispute with the governing body.

The three-judge appeals court rejected City’s argument. One of them, Sir Julian Flaux, Chancellor of the High Court, said: “The suggestion that press interest and speculation could disrupt the investigation or arbitration, where both are being conducted by experienced professionals, is completely whimsical. Likewise, the suggestion that press comments and post-release speculation could harm the club’s relationship with business partners was unconvincing.

“As Lord Justice Males.” [one of the other two judges] said during argument, any potential business partners that the club might contract with would be required to do their due diligence, which would reveal the existence of the investigation and the dispute.

As the arbitration was common knowledge, the club’s argument that it could not get a fair trial was also rejected. ” [This] would appear to be a layman’s interpretation of the apparent bias allegation, ”Sir Julian said.

City strongly denies any wrongdoing regarding financial fair play. The Premier League backed the club’s confidentiality argument, but with the caveat that in the future the league “should be free to rely on and disclose the substantive judgment in other court proceedings. ‘arbitration against other member clubs’.

However, the court ruled that this was in fact a counterproductive argument. “It is difficult to imagine a more eloquent demonstration of why publication of the judgment on the merits is in the public interest,” said Sir Julian.

Lord Justice Males noted the time that had passed since the Premier League launched its investigation. “This is an investigation that began in December 2018. It is surprising, and a matter of legitimate public concern, that so little progress has been made after two and a half years – in which, it can be noted , the club were crowned Premier League champions, ”he said.

The city issued a statement saying, “We respect the decision of the appeals court regarding the arbitration issue. The decision relates to an ongoing procedure and we are obviously not in a position to comment until this procedure is completed. “

The Premier League declined to comment.

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