Manchester City football club management has said that they are “disappointed but not surprised” by the verdict, describing the process as “prejudicial”, so they will take the case to Court of Arbitration for Sport.
They released a statement, reading: “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber. The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.
“In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City before any investigation had even begun. The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver. The club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.
“Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA. With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgement as quickly as possible and will, therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”
If Manchester City finish in the top four and their ban is upheld by CAS, it would mean a Champions League place would go to the team who finish fifth in the Premier League.
UEFA rule 4.08 states: “A club which is not admitted to the competition is replaced by the next best-placed club in the top domestic championship of the same association, provided the new club fulfils the admission criteria. In this case, the access list (see Annex A) is adjusted accordingly.”
Sheffield United currently are fifth in the Premier League table on 39 points, two points ahead of Tottenham who have a game in hand.