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UEFA chief says European ban on Man. City ‘right’

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has insisted the European governing body were “right” to kick Manchester City out of the Champions League for breaching financial regulations despite the club’s successful appeal.

English giants City were handed a two-year suspension in February 2020 by UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), but the sanction was overturned at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July of that year.

CAS found some of the alleged breaches were “not established”, while others were time-barred. 

The club’s fine for failing to co-operate with CFCB investigators was reduced by CAS to 10 million euros (£8.6 million).

Ceferin, however, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph in an interview published Wednesday: “We know we were right. 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,” he added.

“And, sometimes, you lose a case when you’re sure… You have to respect the decision of the court.I don’t want to speak about the case in England. But I trust that the decision of our independent body was correct.”

The case in England referred to by Ceferin is the decision by the Premier League last year to refer Abu Dhabi-backed City to an independent commission, charged with more than 100 breaches of the competition’s financial rules.

The club said they looked forward to presenting “irrefutable evidence” against the charges.

City, managed by Pep Guardiola, enjoyed a triumphant treble campaign last season as they on the Premier League, England’s FA Cup and Europe’s elite Champions League.  

But there are concerns their on-field success will remain under a cloud until such time as all the allegations they have breached financial fair play rules are resolved.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told a British parliamentary committee last week a date has been set for the commission hearing but would not say when it would sit.

Masters defended the time the Premier League had taken over the charges against City, compared to its relatively swift action in finding Everton had broken the league’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR), by saying the City case was different “in volume and character” to that of Everton or the one involving Nottingham Forest.

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