City’s UEFA ban appeal up in air as CAS grapples with coronavirus

MANCHESTER, England: Manchester City’s appeal against their two-year UEFA ban from European football is up in the air as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland deals with the impact of the coronavirus. City had hoped to have their hearing heard by early summer but that may be optimistic given the court in Lausanne has already postponed three hearings and has 16 cases already scheduled until May 18, with the City case not yet listed. CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb said that the court was already making adjustments and was “monitoring the situation closely and continually adapting to the changing circumstances”.

“In-person hearings are still being conducted, where the participants agree to do so,” he added in an email statement. “When participants are located in high-risk regions, we are offering the possibility of using video or phone links or postponing to a later date.” Reeb said that parties in cases are able to request that a decision be made “solely on the basis of the written submissions, without a hearing being held”. City were banned by UEFA on Feb. 14 and fined 30 million euros ($32.60 million) for “serious breaches” of its break-even regulations known as Financial Fair Play (FFP).

The club, who have denied wrongdoing, appealed the decision and last month their CEO Ferran Soriano said they wanted “an early resolution” and that the “best hope is that this will be finished before the beginning of the summer”. The ruling, if upheld, would mean City would not be able to compete in the 2020-21 Champions League should they again qualify for Europe’s top club competition. They would also be banned from European competition in the 2021-22 season. — Reuters