Those of you who are looking to vilify the Premier League clubs who submitted an application to stop Manchester City getting into Europe next season may want to think twice.
The Daily Mail reported yesterday that the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, in fact every top-ten club except Sheffield United, had submitted a joint application to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to stop City playing in the Champions League while their appeal is ongoing.
City, of course, were banned from UEFA’s top club competition for two years earlier this year after breaches regarding Financial Fair Play.
They’ve appealed that at CAS after protesting their innocence, but the ongoing Coronavirus situation around Europe means it may not be cleared up before next season.
This led to reports that City would ask for the suspension to be ‘stayed’ until a decision was made, thus allowing them to play in next year’s competition.
Indeed, we covered something similar from Spain just last week, with AS reporting that their case was currently ‘frozen’ at CAS, who are unable to take any action in the current climate.
The Spanish newspaper explained that a decision had to be made by August 26th and, if it wasn’t, Manchester City could ‘obtain an extension’ and get themselves back into the Champions League next season.
Their chief executive had even come up with a ‘plan’ to further force CAS’ hand, with it explained that he was planning to ‘legally demand’ that Pep Guardiola’s side can’t be banned until a decision has been made.
Ferran Soriano had come up with a plan that not only took advantage of the COVID-19 situation but also forced UEFA and CAS’ hand in the matter.
So, is it at all surprising that the rest of the league have now moved to try and ensure such a strategy doesn’t work?
There have been growing grievances over City’s conduct for several years, particularly from the likes of Liverpool, who go out of their way to let everyone know they comply with the rules. Net spend is one of the favourite buzzwords among the Anfield fanbase.
You can see too, how the likes of Chelsea would be annoyed at City’s attempts to dodge justice given they were hit with a ban from FIFA this season also.
That’s before you even get to the ‘smaller’ clubs like Wolves and Leicester, who have probably been held by their desire to abide by FFP.
And Manchester United could directly miss out on a Champions League place if the ban is suspended.
Rather than treating Manchester City as the victims of some ongoing agenda against them and their success, it would be wise to look at what’s caused it in the first place.
If City weren’t doing their utmost to dodge the punishment for their actions, as AS claimed, then their rivals and fellow Premier League clubs wouldn’t have to take such drastic steps.
These are not the actions of some petty clubs who want to see the Etihad empire crumble; it’s their attempt to fight fire with fire.