The credibility of Financial Fair Play (FFP) lies in tatters. After all, how can FFP survive after one of the world’s richest clubs, having been found guilty of obstructing a Uefa investigation, a club that was found to have breached the rules in 2014, walk away with just a 10m euros (£9m) fine?
Many will wonder what kind of deterrent that sets for other clubs, especially clubs with such financial resources. It shows how difficult it has become for governing bodies to enforce the rules.
The language that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) uses is important. Uefa noted that Cas found “insufficient conclusive evidence” to uphold all of its conclusions, not ‘no evidence’.
And some allegations were dismissed because they were more than five years old. And, because City were found to have failed to co-operate, this falls short of a full exoneration.
But City are unlikely to care too much about that, and what a story it would be if they can follow this up with a first Champions League success.
European football insiders are adamant City’s successful appeal against their two-year European ban does not open the door for “anyone to do what they want”.
Whilst City are celebrating the decision by Cas as a total vindication of their decision to fight the punishment, Uefa insiders are taking solace from the small print within the judgement.