Manchester City are convinced Arsenal are behind the plot to have their European ban upheld if the Covid-19 crisis prevents an appeal.
The Sunday Mirror report that City boss believe that Arsenal have instigated the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make sure that Pep Guardiola’s men do not play in Europe next season.
Apparently Etihad officials “have information from a number of trusted sources” that the Gunners have led the movement of top English clubs pleading for City’s appeal to be upheld.
The report claims “Arsenal refused to comment on the suggestion,” as expected, and will deny the claims if they are questioned about the matters by City officials.
City are also understood to be upset with Liverpool, who are also one of the clubs involved, given Jurgen Klopp’s men have already secured a place in next season’s Champions League.
City were given a two-season ban from European football and fined £24.9million for breaching financial regulations, but have vowed to fight the verdict of a UEFA investigation into accounts submitted by the club between 2012 and 2016.
City chief executive Ferran Soriano immediately denied claims that the Premier League champions broke the rules over Financial Fair Play regulations.
“These allegations are simply not true,” Soriano said in an interview on the club’s official website.
In a statement CAS said: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered an appeal filed by Manchester City football club against the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).”
Earlier in the week a “bombshell disclosure” by the Daily Mail claimed that the entire Premier League top 10, bar City and Sheffield United, had submitted a joint application to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Now it has reportedly emerged that Arsenal have led the appeal with Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United, Wolves, Leicester, Burnley and Chelsea all separately writing to the same law firm, which has then sent an application backed by all the clubs named to CAS.
The clubs strongly object to City’s plan to play on in the tournament while the appeal is ongoing and they request that City’s punishment is ‘stayed’ while their case is resolved.
The coronavirus pandemic means CAS are now unlikely to be in a position to hear all the evidence until late in the summer, meaning City are likely to ask for their ban to be suspended while their appeal is heard.