Manchester City back in play in Europe
The international court of arbitration for sport (Cas) in Lausanne has overturned a two-year ban from European competition for Manchester City. Uefa had excluded the club from European competition for two years in February, but the court ruled that it had not been proven that payments made by the football club's main owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had been disguised as sponsorship funds. Commentators are disappointed with the decision.
Petrodollars are ruining football
The ruling is a defeat for the smaller European clubs, complains NRC Handelsblad:
“On paper the verdict may be a victory for Manchester City, but in fact the Cas ruling is a defeat for all clubs that are not in the hands of sheikhs, oligarchs and tycoons. ... If the petrodollar-funded triumphal march of the nouveau riche (i.e. Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain) is not slowed down, what role can 'normal' clubs like Ajax Amsterdam play in the Champions League? ... Uefa now has a task. It must tighten its own rules to combat financial doping in football effectively.”
Dirty business is dirty business
Deutschlandfunk says the 10-million-euro fine which the club must now pay is ridiculously low:
“Manchester City is literally swimming in money. The club is owned by Sheikh Mansour; Etihad Airlines is the main sponsor. ... While many smaller clubs have already been excluded from the competition for financial fair play breaches, Manchester City has managed to escape this sanction despite the overwhelming evidence against it. ... Today's ruling is not a scandalous verdict, it simply highlights once more how dirty the football business is and how it is at the mercy of Arab investors who want to use top football to purchase global political influence. Only 150 kilometres north of Manchester, in Newcastle, Saudi Arabia is just waiting to get into business.”