MONTREUX, Switzerland — An attempt by Manchester City to block an investigation into its finances and spending was rejected Friday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that the club’s appeal was “inadmissible” because European soccer officials have not yet issued a ruling in the case.
Investigators from UEFA, the sport’s governing body in Europe, have spent months looking into possible violations of the organization’s so-called financial fair play rules. Those rules, in place since 2011, were devised to impose a measure of financial fairness within the European soccer economy by linking spending to revenues, but powerful clubs have routinely avoided serious punishment for breaking them.
Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champion, had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in June, about a month after The New York Times reported that UEFA investigators were seeking at least a one-season ban of the club from the Champions League, European’s soccer biggest and richest club competition. City has contended that UEFA acted incorrectly in assigning its case to the governing body’s financial crimes unit.
CAS officials stressed that Friday’s decision was not a verdict on any of the underlying accusations against Manchester City.
“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” the CAS secretary general, Matthieu Reeb, told reporters. “It’s just jurisdiction and admissibility and nothing else. So we cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of the financial fair play rules are real or not.”
Friday’s decision puts City’s fate back in the hands of UEFA’s financial fair play judge, who could still decide to impose a ban from the Champions League, the trophy Manchester City and its United Arab Emirates-financed owners covet most.
Many of the most serious allegations of rule-breaking by Manchester City have emerged through damaging leaks to the news media over the past several years. Manchester City has vigorously denied wrongdoing, and its officials have warned UEFA that the club would mount an aggressive response to any effort to bar it from the Champions League.
“The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false,” City said in a statement earlier this year.
Source : NYtimes