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Football | Manchester City's European ban overturned

Manchester City's two-year ban from European football has been overturned.

Pep Guardiola's side have been given the green light to participate in the Champions League next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted the ban and reduced City's original €30m fine to €10m after hearing three days of evidence last month.

In November 2018, German magazine Der Spiegel published a series of articles in 2018 which accused City of using illegal methods to circumnavigate Financial Fair Play’s rules.

The English club were found guilty of "serious breaches" of UEFA's Financial Fair Play and club licensing regulations by UEFA's Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body in February.

City, who have mathematically secured second place in the Premier League and are still involved in this season's Champions League, have strongly denied any accusations of wrongdoing from the outset.

"As the charges with respect to any dishonest concealment of equity funding were clearly more significant violations than obstructing the CFCB's investigations, it was not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in UEFA's club competitions for MCFC's failure to co-operate with the CFCB's investigations alone," a statement from the CAS read.

"However, considering i) the financial resources of MCFC; ii) the importance of the cooperation of clubs in investigations conducted by the CFCB, because of its limited investigative means; and iii) MCFC's disregard of such principle and its obstruction of the investigations, the CAS Panel found that a significant fine should be imposed on MCFC and considered it appropriate to reduce UEFA's initial fine by 2/3, i.e. to the amount of EUR 10 million."

City have welcomed the ruling in an official club statement.

"Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the club welcomes the implications of today's ruling as a validation of the club's position and the body of evidence that it was able to present.

"The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered."

CAS will expand on the reasons behind their ruling in the coming days.

The ruling has implications for a host of Premier League clubs, with City's re-admittance to European football meaning that only those teams who finish inside the top four will qualify for the Champions League (Chelsea could still qualify if they finish outside the top four but overturn a 3-0 deficit to Bayern Munich and go on to win the Champions League).

With Premier League champions Liverpool and City themselves already claiming two of the four spots, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester City, Wolves and Sheffield United will battle it out for the remaining two qualification positions.

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