Pep Guardiola Manchester City Boss Tells Friends He Intends To Stay At Club Despite Champions League Ban

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Pep Guardiola Manchester City Boss Tells Friends He Intends To Stay At Club Despite Champions League Ban

Pep Guardiola has told friends he intends to stay at Manchester City despite the club’s two-year ban from the Champions League.

Unless City overturn the ban imposed by Uefa on Friday, they will not compete in European football until 2022 after this season.

Guardiola’s contract is due to expire in 2021.

He is expected to speak about the subject for the first time on Wednesday.

His contract does have a break clause at the end of this season and it was anticipated he would activate it should City fail to win their appeal which they will be submitting to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the next few days.

However, it is understood the 49-year-old has said he will not be doing that and remains committed to the club.

Guardiola is likely to discuss the issue after Wednesday’s rearranged Premier League game against West Ham.

In a bizarre situation, neither side has played since the initial game was postponed due to bad weather on 9 February.

As both clubs held pre-match news conferences two days before the game was supposed to be played, they have been told by the Premier League there is no contractual requirement to hold another and it is understood neither side will do so.

A former journeyman footballer named Omer Riza could play a key role in the next chapter of Manchester City’s bitter and potentially defining legal battle with Uefa over their two-year ban from European club competitions.

Back in 2008, the dual British-Turkish national, a former fringe player at Arsenal and West Ham, walked out on Turkish club Trabzonspor and returned to England, claiming he had not been paid.

An arbitration panel appointed by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) found he had terminated his contract and fined him 61,000 euros (£50,701).

So Riza appealed, first to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), then the Swiss Federal Court, and ultimately to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Last month, Riza – who has retired as a player and is now coaching at Watford’s academy – heard he had finally won a decade-long legal battle. The ECHR decided the European Convention of Human Rights had been violated because the arbitration panel was appointed by the TFF’s directors, and therefore Riza had legitimate reason to doubt it had approached his case with the necessary independence and impartiality.

So what relevance does all this have to Manchester City – a dominant force in the English game – as they prepare to appeal to Cas, and ramp up their fight against a shattering punishment?

A punishment that has done immeasurable damage to the club’s reputation, added to the controversy surrounding owners already accused of using the club to furnish or ‘sportswash’ Abu Dhabi’s image and divert from its questionable human rights record.

A punishment that has tainted the team’s achievements, thrown the future of players, manager and finances into doubt, and could yet see the Premier League dock points and strip titles.

Based on City’s typically aggressive statement responding to the ban and £25m fine, there are several parts to the defence the club will be expected to mount:

  • That they deny breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and have “irrefutable evidence” to prove it, despite Uefa’s guilty verdict.
  • The suggestion – strongly denied – that Uefa pre-determined its decision because of alleged leaks to the media last year that correctly predicted the referral of the case to the club financial control body’s adjudicatory chamber.

According to Cas, this argument was “not without merit” when it rejected City’s attempt to get Uefa’s case thrown out before a verdict was reached last year. Cas also said the leaks were “worrisome”. But to make this argument stick the club would surely need solid evidence? City could demand access to private emails and communications, so expect a separate legal battle over disclosure when the case is heard.

  • That the leaked emails which appear to show City deceived Uefa – and which were published by German magazine Der Spiegel – were obtained illegally and were “out-of-context materials purportedly hacked or stolen”, so should therefore be deemed inadmissible.

Even though Der Spiegel’s source – Rui Pinto, the figure behind website Football Leaks – is awaiting trial in his native Portugal on multiple charges of computer hacking, which he denies, sports law experts seem to agree this will be a difficult argument for City to win. They have not denied the authenticity of the documents after all.

  • That the punishment is disproportionate or unfair compared to previous FFP cases or other clubs. City will certainly point to the fact a two-year ban is unprecedented, and therefore potentially excessive. They will also refer to other clubs’ sponsorship arrangements with companies linked to their owners.
  • That this was a “prejudicial process” because it was “judged by Uefa” – ie the adjudicatory panel was effectively biased because it was appointed by Uefa and therefore lacked independence.
  • https://www.bbc.com

This final argument in particular has received little sympathy – and indeed much criticism. With highly respected legal minds such as top British barrister Charles Flint QC hired for their independence and integrity on the adjudicatory panel, and City fully aware of the system they had signed up to, many have portrayed this as disrespectful and, simply, sour grapes.

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And whether you see FFP as a crude means of protecting club football’s traditional status quo, or a sensible approach that has stabilised finances, many believe City breached rules they had agreed to adhere to – and then misled officials about it and therefore must be punished, especially as Uefa claims the club failed to co-operate with the investigation.

Pep Guardiola Manchester City Boss Tells Friends He Intends To Stay At Club Despite Champions League Ban

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