Martin Devlin: Why Manchester City won't be banned from Champions League

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Feb 2020, 2:48PM

Martin Devlin: Why Manchester City won't be banned from Champions League

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Feb 2020, 2:48PM

Manchester City will not be banned from the Champions League.

Despite the very stern judgement from UEFA last week, and never mind the fact they damn well deserve to be, the only way Pep's mob won't be playing in the world's most popular and prestigious club football comp next season is if they themselves fail to qualify. 

UEFA's "punishment", although very clearly and staunchly outlined, is designed more as a deterrent and warning shot (to City and all the  other teams) than an actual black'n'white blueprint of immediate consequence.

What will in fact happen, as does always happen with similar such cases, is that every avenue of appeal will be exhausted before the continuing cost and time consuming nature of the complex legalese  overwhelms all concerned and a convenient compromise is reached.

For a start there's the problem that UEFA is sole judge, jury and executioner.

Now given their own incredibly dodgy past involving multiple and repetitive internal investigations over financial impropriety the immediate question of credibility will be the first to be raised followed promptly by the (supposed) lack of basic justice where every person or professional body accused surely has the most fundamental right to at least face their accuser(s) and refute the allegations made.

Because this hasn't happened, and never really does in these situations, the safety net of integrity & fairness (aka CAS the Court of Arbitration for Sport) will be called in to adjudicate.

What they inevitably do is search for the easiest option out, which is to get both warring parties to eventually agree, meaning look for a compromise that fits and move this complicated, messy can-of-worms out of the public eye as soon as is administratively possible.

CAS will automatically halve UEFA's initial "punishment" and more than likely suspend it until further official enquiries can be independently conducted.

As unfair as this sounds, in terms of meting out actual justice to a club which has obviously and blatantly transgressed, it's probably kinda fair as well given that City aren't the only club doing dodgy dealings and ripping the scab off Euro football and the many billions it generates is not something anyone to do with the game is really equipped or prepared for. As they say, there is no-one innocent in this jail.

It all sounded impressive and sounded like UEFA have finally gained control over the inherent corruption in their sport but the reality is City have as much chance of being banned from next year's CL as crosstown rivals Man United do of qualifying for it.