Manchester City furious after Uefa investigation is sent for final judgment – The Guardian

Manchester City furious after Uefa investigation is sent for final judgment - The Guardian

Man City referred to Uefa financial body

The chairman and chief investigator of Uefas club financial control body investigatory chamber, Yves Leterme, has concluded City have a case to answer and has referred the allegations to the adjudicatory chamber, which will issue a final ruling and determine any punishment.

Read more City accused the process at Uefa of having been curtailed and hostile, with Leterme having taken the decision to refer the case two months after the investigation was formally opened. City argue that the investigatory chamber is mistaken and confused, and has not fully considered the clubs response to allegations that they misstated multimillion-pound sponsorships in their financial fair play (FFP) submissions more than five years ago.

The club, who have vehemently denied wrongdoing, also expressed anger in their statement about alleged leaks from the process, referring to a report in the New York Times on Monday that the IC was set to recommend City be referred to the adjudicatory chamber and should be banned from the Champions League if found guilty. The clubs statement clearly indicated that they envisage appealing any adverse decision by Uefa to the court of arbitration for sport in Lausanne, where lawyers drawn from around Europe determine disputes with governing bodies.

The seven members of the investigatory chamber are thought to have advised Leterme that City had not satisfactorily answered the doubts over the independence of their sponsorships from the clubs owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, of the Abu Dhabi ruling family.

A series of questions for the adjudicatory chamber to finally determine are understood to have been sent by Leterme, a senior Belgian politician and former prime minister, who has the sole authority to refer cases from the IC. City in effect accused the IC of failing to give them a fair hearing, arguing that it did not take full account of a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence it provided.

Manchester City football club is disappointed, but regrettably not surprised, by the sudden announcement of the referral to be made by the CFCB IC chief investigator Yves Leterme, the club said.

The leaks to media over the last week are indicative of the process that has been overseen by Mr Leterme. Manchester City is entirely confident of a positive outcome when the matter is considered by an independent judicial body.

The accusation of financial irregularities remains entirely false and the CFCB IC referral ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City FC to the Chamber.

Read more The decision contains mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process and there remain significant unresolved matters raised by Manchester City FC as part of what the club has found to be a wholly unsatisfactory, curtailed, and hostile process.

City have been facing allegations since November that they falsely declared multimillions of pounds as sponsorships from the state airline Etihad and other Abu Dhabi companies that were in fact investment from Sheikh Mansour. The allegations are based on leaked internal City emails and other documents published by the German magazine Der Spiegel. City have said the contents were taken out of context.

Uefas statement on Thursday said: The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) chief investigator, after having consulted with the other members of the independent investigatory chamber of the CFCB, has today decided to refer Manchester City FC to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation.

The CFCB investigatory chamber had opened an investigation into Manchester City FC on 7 March 2019 for potential breaches of financial fair play (FFP) regulations that were made public in various media outlets.

Uefa will not be making any further comment on the matter until a decision is announced by the CFCB adjudicatory chamber.

Manchester City say they are “disappointed, but regrettably not surprised” after being referred to Uefas financial control body adjudicatory chamber.

BBC Sport reported this week that Uefa investigators want City to be banned from the Champions League for a season if they are found guilty of breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Chief investigator Yves Leterme has made his recommendation but it is not known if he supports a ban.

Former Belgian prime minister Leterme, chairman of the investigatory panel of Uefas independent financial control board (CFCB), his team looked at evidence first uncovered in a series of leaks published by German newspaper Der Spiegel last year.

The reports alleged that City broke FFP regulations by inflating the value of a multimillion-pound sponsorship deal. City were fined £49m in 2014 for a previous breach of regulations.

It understood Letermes fellow board members firmly expressed the view at a recent meeting that a season-long ban would be a suitable punishment if City are found guilty.

Uefa said Leterme, “after having consulted with the other members of the independent investigatory chamber”, decided “to refer Manchester City FC to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation”.

European footballs governing body said it “will not be making any further comment on the matter until a decision is announced by the CFCB adjudicatory chamber”.

City, who won the Premier League for a second year in succession last Sunday, have denied any wrongdoing.

“The leaks to media over the last week are indicative of the process that has been overseen by Mr Leterme,” read a City statement.

“Manchester City is entirely confident of a positive outcome when the matter is considered by an independent judicial body.

“The CFCB IC referral ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City FC to the chamber.

“The decision contains mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process and there remain significant unresolved matters raised by Manchester City FC as part of what the club has found to be a wholly unsatisfactory, curtailed, and hostile process.”

It is unlikely any punishment for City will apply to next seasons Champions League because they could appeal, and even take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

City could also soon face a transfer ban, with the Football Association, Premier League and Fifa investigating the club over the signing of youth players.

About three weeks ago, Manchester City made a very detailed submission that extended to more than 100 pages.

It has not gone unnoticed by the club that it is five years to the day since Uefa announced City had breached FFP rules and fined them £49m, although City received £33m back three years later after they met regulations.

According to CFCBs own regulations, they cannot bring prosecutions more than five years after the event.

In the referral it is understood the CFCB said that through their submission there are further questions to be asked of City but, since their submission, none of these questions has been put to the club.

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