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Other SportsUEFA president Ceferin: We were right on Manchester City FFP charges

UEFA president Ceferin: We were right on Manchester City FFP charges

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin insists European football’s governing body was right to find Manchester City guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play rules in 2020, suggesting a guilty verdict in the Premier League’s case against City would validate that ruling.

In February 2020, City were banned from the Champions League for two seasons and fined £25m after being found to have broken financial rules and misled UEFA by falsely inflating sponsorship revenues.

However, City’s European ban was lifted five months later and their fine reduced to £9m following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled most of the club’s breaches were “either not established or time-barred”.

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City’s financial conduct is back on the agenda after they were charged with 115 breaches of the Premier League’s regulations in February last year.

The breaches are alleged to have taken place across a nine-year period between 2009 and 2018, during which City won their first three Premier League titles.

The Premier League has come under pressure to advance the case against City after Everton and Nottingham Forest were charged with breaching the competition’s Profit and Sustainability Rules last week. The Toffees are already appealing against a 10-point deduction for a previous breach, which was issued in November.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, UEFA chief Ceferin refused to comment on the Premier League’s case against City, though he suggested any punishment would validate UEFA’s 2020 ruling.

“We know we were right,” Ceferin said, reflecting on UEFA’s decision to find City guilty. “We wouldn’t decide if we didn’t think we were right.

“As a trial lawyer for 25 years, I know that sometimes you win a case that you are sure you will lose. Sometimes you lose a case when you’re sure [you will win].

“You just simply have to respect the decision of the court in a serious democracy.

“I don’t want to speak about the case in England. But I trust that the decision of our independent body was correct. I didn’t enter into this decision.”

Asked whether he understood fans’ frustrations about the slow progress of the case against City, Ceferin said: “They want to know what’s going on and what the consequences are, but I don’t want to enter into this concrete process because I don’t know what the Premier League is dealing with.

“I really don’t want to criticise, or something like that. It wouldn’t be fair.”

Last week, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that a date had been set for City’s charges to be heard, though he declined to say when that hearing will take place.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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