Man City CEO targets verdict this season in UEFA ban case

Manchester-City-CEO-Ferran-Soriano.-(Owen-Humphreys/PA-via-AP)

Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City hopes for a result this season in its appeal against a two-year European ban, club CEO Ferran Soriano said Wednesday.

City is expected to file a formal challenge against UEFA within days at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Though appeals at CAS typically take about one year to resolve, Soriano targeted a verdict around May or June.

"We are looking for an early resolution obviously through a thorough process and a fair process so my best hope is that this will be finished before the beginning of the summer," the CEO said in an interview filmed and published by the club.

Sport’s highest court can process fast-track cases if all parties agree to work on an accelerated timetable. City and UEFA can also reach an out-of-court settlement that CAS would ratify.

A UEFA judging panel banned City last Friday from European competitions in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons for breaking financial monitoring rules and failing to fully co-operate with investigators. City was also fined 30 million euros ($33 million).

City denies wrongdoing, including that it overstated sponsoring deals linked to its Abu Dhabi ownership and disguised the source of other revenue.

"They are simply not true," Soriano said of the allegations.

Evidence was detailed in internal club communications that appeared to be hacked and leaked to German magazine Der Spiegel, which published a series of reports in November 2018.

During UEFA’s investigation, City won its fourth English Premier League title in eight seasons.

City failed with a previous appeal at CAS to block UEFA judges from taking on the investigators’ case. Three CAS judges ruled that appeal was not valid last November.

Interview requests with City officials have been declined since UEFA announced the ban verdict.

"We have to be respectful as we have been of this process," Soriano said in the in-house interview, noting that "UEFA is much bigger" than the independent club finance panels which prosecuted and judged City’s case.

City continues to play in this season’s Champions League. It travels to face Real Madrid next Wednesday in the first leg of the round of 16.

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