A ruling on Manchester City’s appeal against a two-year suspension from European competition is expected in the first half of July.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said the three-day appeal hearing against the sanction imposed by European football’s governing body for breaches of its financial fair play regulations had concluded on Wednesday.
“The decision is expected to be issued during the first half of July 2020. The exact date will be communicated in advance,” a statement from CAS read.
The court statement said the conduct of the hearing, which took place via video conferencing, had met with the “satisfaction” of both parties.
CAS confirmed the arbitrators who heard the appeal were Rui Botica Santos from Portugal, Professor Ulrich Haas of Germany and Andrew McDougall from France.
The Premier League champions were sanctioned by the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA’s club financial control body in February for a breach of financial fair play (FFP) regulations, with the ban accompanied by a fine of 30 million euros (just under £27million).
The CFCB concluded City had committed a “serious” breach of club licensing and FFP rules by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016”, adding that the club “failed to co-operate in the investigation”.
City immediately indicated their intention to appeal against what they said was a “flawed and consistently leaked process”.
The investigation followed claims in German magazine Der Spiegel, based on leaked documents, that City’s owner Sheikh Mansour was topping up the value of sponsorship agreements, in breach of FFP rules. City denied the magazine’s claims.
The timing of the announcement will allow more certainty for both sides in the dispute in terms of preparations for next season.
The club sought to have the FFP investigation halted while it was in progress, but CAS ruled in November last year that that appeal was “inadmissible” because at that stage the CFCB had not determined what, if any, sanctions City should face.
City argued in that initial appeal, in court documents released earlier this year, that the decision of the CFCB’s investigatory chamber to refer the case to the adjudicatory chamber had been taken “improperly and prematurely”.
They also said UEFA had breached confidentiality during the probe, alleging that journalists were being briefed by people with knowledge of the case.
CAS did find that City’s appeal was “not without merit” and that the alleged leaks were “worrisome”.