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CAS reasons for siding with Manchester City make interesting reading

By Tony Attwood

You may have noted a few of the sarcastic and critical comments posted on Untold following the Court of Arbitration in Sports findings in the Uefa v Manchester C appeal.  I made the point a few times that the secretive nature of the CAS proceedings (something that does not happen in most courts in the UK, where the openness of proceedings is highly valued) means that we can never really know what went on, but we would have to wait for the official report.  Although we did know from the start that Uefa lost on key issues not because their claims were false, but because they were submitted too late.

That, to me, was an appalling error by Uefa, and it is a shame we have not heard anything significant from Uefa on this, like perhaps an apology to every other club for cocking up in such a huge way.

But I rather suspect Uefa, like the rest of us, has been a trifle distracted by the battle between Fifa and the Swiss legal authorities, which has now led to the resignation of the most senior legal officer in Switzerland, after he had been found to be having secret meetings with Infantino (Fifa’s boss – at least for a little while longer).  The British papers have largely ignored this, although I have now seen a piece in the Telegraph on this, so maybe the general public will start learning what is happening).

Likewise the British media has been fairly quiet on the issues raised by the CAS ruling, but the publication of the full CAS judgement is getting a few people interested, not least because the judgement rejects the notion that Manchester City provided the evidence to show they were innocent.  Rather the CAS judgement says quite clearly Manchester City not only refused to provide evidence and witnesses but were overtly obstructive, and that there was a legitimate basis to prosecute the club.  The prosecution failed because Uefa proceeded too slowly.  Uefa argue that wasn’t their fault as the evidence that led to the prosecution arrived too late, but they didn’t seem  to take this into account.

CAS do say that in 2012 and 2013 Etisalat did not pay £15m by way of sponsorship of Manchester City as Manchester City reported in its FFP documentation.  The money, CAS clearly states, came from the Abu Dhabi United Group – which is an important point within the case.

Of course this doesn’t affect the fact that the club has got off – it has got off scot-free because Uefa were so slow.  The breach happened in 2012 and 2013.  True the evidence only turned up in 2018 when published in Der Spiegel, but the Uefa rules say, that having kept the deal quiet for five years Manchester City were safe.

The CAS report does show that the club refused to co-operate by providing emails and documents when requested to do so, and refused to allow their executive staff to appear as witnesses.  As a result the finding that Mansour had subsidised the sponsorship deal was “not established” because the evidence that would establish that fact was too old.  It was there, but couldn’t be submitted because of Uefa rules.

Which leads us to an interesting point.  Khaldoon al-Mubarak of Manchester City told Gianni Infantino when he was running Fifa, that (as we have quoted before) he “would rather spend 30 million on the 50 best lawyers in the world to sue [Uefa] for the next 10 years,” than co-operate with the case.

So, Uefa run by Infantino, screwed up a case it could have won, by being slow.  Infantino who was part of the cock-up is now running Fifa, and as the rest of the world knows, but is not being reported much in England, Infantino is now in really, really big trouble having just lost his prime ally, the Swiss public prosecutor.  (See Fifa in chaos as Infantino’s illegal meetings revealed and chief Swiss lawman resigns)

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Manchester City in their statements also did not recognise the independence of CAS by making its now infamous statement “This is a case initiated by Uefa, prosecuted by Uefa and judged by Uefa,” although Ferran Soriano i Compte, the Chief Executive Officer of the club has backed down on that since.

So, now we know what CAS said in its private deliberations, what next?   Manchester City are of course unhindered.  Uefa are embarrassed.  Fifa (only indirectly involved) are toppling over the edge of the cliff.

Uefa has already in the past 18 months admitted it can’t cope with the workload it is facing in relation to match fixing and is bringing in outside organisations to help (yet another story that the English media failed to report), and that step forwards is seen in Europe as a very positive move, both in admitting the level of match fixing, and seeking a way to deal with it.

Now Uefa has been shown to be too slow, allowing a major case to be thrown out on appeal because it was not presented in a timely manner in keeping with its own rules.  (And we must remember these were Uefa rules, not CAS rules).

Uefa can’t stop CAS meeting in secrecy, but it can change its own rules, to ensure that in future no club is able to delay and delay by making aggressive “no surrender” type statements, and so kick the legal case over the time-bar line.  That should be easy.  Every country represented in Uefa would agree

Second, Uefa is changing its internal workings so that it speeds matters like this up. Its explanation (that the Der Spiegel emails came out so late that it didn’t have time to get the case out sooner) might be valid, but this can be avoided again, simply by expanding the time it has, or abandoning the time limit totally.  I doubt that a single club participating in Uefa tournaments would vote against such a change, other, perhaps, than Manchester City.

Third, Uefa is watching the situation unfolding in Switzerland as the legal authorities daily tighten the screw on Infantino, not least because if Infantino is guilty of a fraction of what is being talked about in these investigations, then everything Infantino did while head of Uefa could also unravel.  Certainly it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the resignation of Michael Lauber, the most senior law officer in the country, after having been found to have had secret meetings with Infantino.  That is shaking the country, and football.  Only the UK ignores it because, well, it’s not British.

Everything is being tightened up, and I suspect in time the cock-up by Uefa in not pushing its case through faster, relying instead on the fact that the evidence only came to light late in the day, will not be allowed to happen again.

But now, let’s continue to watch the Swiss story, because as Bob Dylan said, “Things could start to get interesting right about now.”

 

 

 

7 comments to CAS reasons for siding with Manchester City make interesting reading

  • Dukinfield Blue

    What a green eyed bias piece of tosh this is.
    You have just falsely and deliberately misrepresented absolutely everything about the CAS decision and reported based on your own jealous direct narrative.
    Read the whole of the CAS decision document carefully and you will see that.
    City was totally exonerated of ANY FFP BREACHES
    Yes, there was timed barred evidence not considered but was this evidence genuine…. I think not as the non timed barred evidence was dismissed as false and fraudulent.
    The evidence in the form of the Der Spiegel emails were deemed false, altered and in two instances were merged emails to misrepresent what was said, therefore was fraudulent, not evidence that was even remotely reliable and CAS made that crystal clear that there was no case to answer, this was also probably the case in the so called “time barred” email evidence as well.

    We all know what an article like this is… it’s a continued attempt to smear a club which simply leaves your crappy club in its wake. We have better owners who invest rather than withdraw funding, we have better players, facilities and management than anything your club can provide and you simply hate that and us for overtaking you.

    Enjoy the rest of your life in the wilderness, maybe you should bleat on about the shambles that is your club rather than lie about a club completely exonerated by CAS, an independent judicial body with an impeccable reputation.

  • UEFA and FIFA are both, as well as incompetent, profoundly corrupt. Viz that we were fined for “non-cooperation”. Why? Because we stopped co-operating when UEFA started leaking details of the case. Why would any entity co-operate with such an institution. Everybody knows that FFP was initially designed to deal with clubs with huge debt – such as Barca, Real and United. And then was flipped to deal with a club who could invest whatever they wanted with NO debt other than minimal running costs.

    United. Bought with their own debt. Now £1/2 billion in debt. Glazers have taken out £1 billion for themselves from the club.

    That apparently is OK.

    FFP is shit. It is simply an attempt by the old “big” clubs to lock the door and ensure the profits from football go to them.

    You may be fine with that. In which case, more fool, sucker.

  • Dukinfield, your argument slips up on its own excitement when you say “Yes, there was timed barred evidence not considered but was this evidence genuine…. I think not”. That is fair enough, you think not, but that is just an opinion. And as for “We all know what an article like this is… it’s a continued attempt to smear a club which simply leaves your crappy club in its wake”. Well, if you ever get offered a job as a mind reader, I would suggest you might think twice before taking it.
    But despite this I am glad to receive your article because it does show to readers a particular style of thinking.

  • Tim Hogan

    Whilst not having read the Arbitral Award from CAS (CAS 2020/A/6785 Manchester City F.C. v UEFA) in its entirety I am left with the impression that UEFA was not really prepared to defend its initial judgement and there by FFP. I believe two points from the CAS document led credence to this viewpoint.

    Firstly, on page 14, point 34 of the Arbitral Award, it states UEFA accepted MCFC’s choice of Mr. Rui Botica Santos to be Chairman of the Panel in order, “… to avoid delay in the constitution of the Panel.” For the avoidance of doubt I am not casting any aspersion on Mr. Rui Botica Santos but the mere fact UEFA appeared to accept MCFC’s selection, apparently so meekly, does, at least in my mind, raise doubts about how much fight there was within UEFA’s corridors.

    The second point relates to the ‘run of e-mails’ that UEFA initially requested from MCFC and that MCFC refused to supply to UEFA. Instead of UEFA insisting MCFC submit the ‘run of e-mails’ to CAS it responded, “For these reasons, UEFA does not see any need to insist on its Evidentary Request no. 2, and is satisfied to proceed with the case …” – see page 19 of the aforementioned document for further details.

    If anyone has bothered to read this far and thinks my viewpoint may have some credence I’d like to suggest some possible reasons why UEFA’s heart wasn’t in it. Instead of the usual claims of incompetence and corruption may I suggest the following: UEFA does not believe in the G14/18 influenced FFP rules and successfully banning an elite club from their own competition is not good for their business model.

    Do I believe MCFC broke FFP rules? Yes, MCFC probably did. Did MCFC get off on a technicality? No, I believe CAS paid due regard to the FFP rules, UEFA’s evidence and Swiss legislation and came to a decision that under the circumstances was valid.

    To supporters of FFP, rest assured FFP is still alive but I think it will evolve just like football and its fans have through the years. Who knows, maybe in twenty years some football fans might think hacking an opponent’s scouting database is a more heinous crime than an owner putting their own money into their football club. Like commentators often say, “It’s a funny old game.”

    Finally, best of luck to Arsenal at the weekend.

  • Richard Griffith

    It is absolutely hilarious that Citeh fans continue to claim their clubs innocence. Just enjoy the money you are being given whilst it lasts and don’t forget the complete shambles you were in just a few short years ago. It’s amazing isn’t it what a great pile of dubious Arab oil money can do!

  • Nitram

    “We all know what an article like this is… it’s a continued attempt to smear a club which simply leaves your crappy club in its wake. We have better owners who invest rather than withdraw funding,”

    You City fans really are a deluded bunch. How on earth you interpret being gifted ONE BILLION POUNDS NETT for player signings alone as running a club well I don’t know ? You really ought to know our respective clubs history before you start claiming how well you run your club and how bad we run ours. This was your modus operandi before the money arrived.

    -You burnt through 23 managers in 17 years.

    -You went from one of the top clubs in the country in the late 60’s early 70’s (certainly more successful than Arsenal had been for some time) to a 3rd tier side.

    -You almost went bankrupt before the money arrived.

    -you won 1 league cup in 40 years

    Arsenal on the other hand have never been relegated and won 15 trophies over the same period. I know we earned our place at the top, with good management and sound investment. No gifts. Just decent club management.

    Yes we have faltered but that is largely on the back of the enormous burden of building and having to pay for a brand new stadium (another thing you know nothing about) whilst at the same time having to compete with the arrival of the oil money. As can now be seen, if we get it wrong we falter. We have no ‘right’ to be in the top 4, or have any ‘protection’ as this following statement from Jeremy infers we have:

    “It is simply an attempt by the old “big” clubs to lock the door and ensure the profits from football go to them.”

    We are not in the Billionaires Club. We, unlike City have no Nation State or Oligarch to bail us out. We live within our means. We currently have real issues on the back of this epidemic as we rely heavily on match day attendance and TV money, both in severe jeopardy. You on the other hand don’t have to worry about either and you have the cheek to accuse us of ‘locking the door’. So yes we ARE a big club but as I say we EARNED that status, unlike you we wasn’t gifted it. And yes it is our choice, a choice I not only agree with but am proud of. Give me my ‘crappy’ club over yours any day of the week.

    The irony is, you keep calling us bitter and jealous, when reading statements like Jeromy’s it is actually you that are jealous, so jealous in fact that you are prepared to turn a blind eye to your benefactors absolutely atrocious human rights record in order to join the very club you accuse us of being a part of when we clearly are not.

    City a big Club? Don’t make me laugh. You simply won the lottery and have turned in to the biggest chavs in town, flaunting your money, and the power it has bought you, like a pimp flaunts his hookers and bling.

    Honestly your take on this is so warped it’s laughable.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Perhaps UEFA or FIFA should let Mr Wenger to head things up, one of the only ways they will ever be credible
    And thanks for the wishes this weekend, Tim Hogan

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