Manchester City will offer boss Pep Guardiola a lucrative new long-term deal after overturning their Champions League ban.
City won their appeal against their two year UEFA ban for breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in their favour.
The ruling means City are free to carry on playing in the Champions League and has removed the threat of a mass exodus of players due to their potential European exile.
City bosses will also use the decision to persuade Guardiola – who is already in the final year of his £20million-a-year contract – to sign a new long-term deal.
City had been accused of falsely inflating the value of sponsorship deals to comply with FFP, a charge the club had always denied.
The allegation they inflated the value of sponsorship deals – effectively ‘self-sponsorship’ – to meet FFP rules was dismissed by CAS, allowing for the overturning of the ban.
But the CAS verdict did not completely exonerate City, who broke Article 56 of UEFA’s regulations, which compels all clubs to cooperate fully with investigations.
City were found to have disregarded that obligation and obstructed the process, but their subsequent £8.9m fine is money down the side of the sofa for a club of their financial might.
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CAS said the allegations were “either not established or time-barred”, the latter meaning alleged breaches from 2012 could not be proven because they exceeded UEFA’s five-year cut-off period.
On the overturning of their ban, City issued a statement that said: “The club welcomes the implications of the ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present.”
The ruling has dented the credibility of FFP, but UEFA said: “Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and Uefa and European Club Association remain committed to its principles.”