13 February 2020 06:31
Manchester City's fierce hostility to Uefa's investigation into the club's alleged breaches of financial fair play regulations has been laid bare in court documents, which show City sought financial damages from Uefa for alleged leaks of the process to the media. The furious case mounted by City is detailed in written reasons issued by the court of arbitration for sport for its decision in November to dismiss City's case. The club had appealed against the decision by the "investigatory chamber" (IC) of Uefa's club financial control body to charge City with breaches of FFP, and refer the case to the control body's "adjudicatory chamber" (AC). The IC's investigation followed publication of internal City emails by the German magazine Der Spiegel which suggested the club had deceived Uefa in their financial submissions, principally because City's owner, Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, was funding the club's sponsorship by the state's airline, Etihad. Manchester City and West Ham to play rearranged game during winter break Read more City deny any wrongdoing and appealed to Cas against the referral by the IC itself, arguing that it was made "improperly and prematurely", that it "lacked procedural fairness and due process", and did not treat City equally with other European clubs.
City also protested about the leaking in advance of the IC's intended decision to charge the club, and subsequent media reports, alleging: "Uefa has systematically breached, and continues to breach, its duty of confidence." The ferocity of City's accusations against Uefa drew an emphatic response from Yves Leterme, the IC chair, who wrote on 20 May: "I must vehemently reject your allegations of unlawful activities, either by myself or by any of the members of the Uefa CFCB, in particular of its investigatory chamber. Y our allegations are groundless in the merits and unacceptable in tone. Please be advised that I will not continue such an exchange of correspondence and that I will not respond further to groundless accusations directed against me personally and/or against my fellow members of the IC." The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Cas refused City's appeal against the referral, ruling that an appeal cannot be made until a final decision by a governing body, and City could make all their arguments at the hearing before the adjudicatory chamber. However the Cas panel of three lawyers described the media leaks as "worrisome" and questioned how Leterme "could be so confident" that they had not come from the CFCB.
City lost their initial bid to have Cas halt Uefa's investigation, in November. An FFP verdict from Uefa's adjudicatory chamber is understood to be close. Uefa launched an investigation after German newspaper Der Spiegel published leaked documents alleging City had inflated the value of a sponsorship deal, misleading European football's governing body. Reports alleged City - who deny wrongdoing - deliberately misled Uefa so they could meet FFP rules requiring clubs to break even. The Premier League champions, FA Cup and League Cup winners were fined £49m in 2014 for a previous breach of regulations.
Uefa investigators previously said they want City to be banned from the Champions League for a season if they are found guilty of breaking financial rules. City were investigated by Uefa after data appeared to show the club inflated sponsorship agreements from companies linked to their owners Manchester City were involved in a furious dispute with Uefa's chief financial investigator and demanded damages from the governing body after his recommendation for a one-season Champions League ban for the club was leaked, court documents have revealed. The club accused the investigatory committee of Uefa's Club Financial Control Board (CFCB) of "unlawful activities" after the leak in May and tried unsuccessfully to have the investigation thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). City claimed that Uefa violated their "personality rights" and the club called for a full investigation into the leaks. They also wanted Uefa to pay damages "for losses incurred as a result of the respondent's conduct". The CAS dismissed City's claim in November and the full findings of that Manchester City demanded damages from Uefa as part of their pre-emptive appeal against a potential Champions League ban for alleged financial fair play breaches. Documents from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) reveal a bitter fallout with chief financial investigator Yves Leterme, as the club took issue with leaks suggesting he supported a suspension. The club took its first appeal to Cas last year on the basis that it claimed the investigatory committee of Uefa's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had conducted "unlawful activities". They were particularly enraged by the New York Times reporting in May last year that the investigatory committee was pushing for a ban. Several days later Uefa announced the case would go to the CFCB's separate adjudicatory chamber for a final decision. As a result, City told Cas that Uefa should be ordered to undertake a "full investigation into the sources of the leaks in order to identify and take disciplinary measures against the identified sources". Uefa, the club said, should then pay "damages to be assessed for losses incurred as a result of the respondent's conduct". City's case was thrown out by the Swiss court in November, however, and the club is still waiting to find out whether it is to be punished over an alleged £60 million FFP breach.