The Court of Arbitration for Sport have confirmed that UEFA did have “legitimate” reasons for prosecuting Manchester City for breaches of Financial Fair Play. However, Europe’s governing body did not abide by their procedures to prove that the club had inflated their sponsorship income.
City were accused of using two companies, Etisalat and Etihad Airways, for disguising equity funding as sponsorship deals but CAS ruled that the Etisalat’s payments were “time-barred,” meaning that the alleged impropriety happened beyond the five years that UEFA sets for prosecuting allegations.
In the case of Etihad Airways, the payments were “partially time-barred” which means most of the payments came outside of the five-year limit.
It means that City were accused of committing offences which UEFA could not legally prosecute for. However, it must be pointed out that CAS also stated that UEFA did not prove its case even on the allegations which were not timebarred, leading to the lifting of the two-year European ban.