Premier League champions Manchester City will from Monday set out their case to overturn a two-season ban from European football.
City were sanctioned by the adjudicatory chamber of Uefa’s club financial control body in February for a breach of financial fair play (FFP) regulations, with the ban accompanied by a fine of €30 million (Dh124.4m).
The CFCB claimed City had breached club licensing and FFP rules by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016”, adding that the club “failed to co-operate in the investigation”.
City immediately indicated their intention to appeal against what they said was a "flawed and consistently leaked process", and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will now hear their appeal between Monday and Wednesday.
City and Uefa will both be hoping for a swift outcome at CAS, in order to give clarity to which clubs will represent England in the 2020/21 Champions League. It is unlikely that a judgement will be handed down until July at the earliest.
The club sought to have the FFP investigation halted while it was in progress, but CAS ruled in November last year that that appeal was “inadmissible” because at that stage the CFCB had not determined what, if any, sanctions City should face.
City argued in that initial appeal, in court documents released earlier this year, that the decision of the CFCB’s investigatory chamber to refer the case to the adjudicatory chamber had been taken “improperly and prematurely”.
They also said Uefa had breached confidentiality during the probe, alleging that journalists were being briefed by people with knowledge of the case.
CAS did find that City’s appeal was “not without merit” and that the alleged leaks were “worrisome”.
After the initial CFCB ruling in February, City chief executive Ferran Soriano moved swiftly to vehemently challenge the body's conclusions.
“The fans can be sure of two things. The first one is that the allegations are false, and the second is that we will do everything that can be done to prove so,” he said.
“We know the fans are supporting us. We can feel it. MCFC fans have gone through challenges over the decades. This is just another challenge. We will stick together, we will go through it and we will not let the fans down.”
On the claims the club “failed to co-operate", Soriano said: “We did cooperate with this process,” he said. "We delivered a long list of documents and support that we believe is irrefutable evidence that the claims are not true."