The reigning Premier League winners will learn their UEFA Champions League fate early next month.
Manchester City's appeal of a two-year ban from European competition is set to be heard June 8 through 10, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced Tuesday.
UEFA banned City from the Champions League and Europa League for two years, beginning with the 2020-21 season, and fined the club €30 million for "serious breaches" of the European governing body's financial fair play (FFP) regulations. The organization's investigation determined City deliberately inflated a sponsorship value in order to break even under the regulations, with e-mails leaked to German outlet Der Spiegel revealing that club owner Sheikh Mansour's private-equity company covered nearly £60 million of a £67.5 million deal.
City appealed the ruling in February, claiming they have a "comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its innocence." The CAS told AFP it's not clear whether the hearing will be held in person, as City requested, or by video due to restrictions as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The hearing dates are good news for clubs awaiting clarity on the Champions League race with the Premier League aiming to end its coronavirus suspension next month as teams began small-group training Tuesday. Should City's ban be upheld, an extra qualification spot would open up outside of the traditional top four. Manchester United, City's cross-town rivals, would stand to benefit as the table currently stands. Five clubs are within six points of United, with at least nine matches to play.
A ruling also would provide clarity on some of City's stars and, potentially, add extra importance to their current Champions League campaign. Kevin De Bruyne, the Premier League's assists leader, told Belgian outlet HLN this month that two seasons outside of Europe would be "a long time." City led La Liga leaders Real Madrid 2-1 -- with the away goals tiebreaker -- after the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 prior to the season's suspension, and an upheld ban would mean this is the club's last chance to lift the one trophy they've not won under manager Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City Champions League ban appeal hearing set for early June originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area