How Premier League Managers Have Reacted to Lifting of Man City’s Champions League Ban

Jose Mourinho, Josep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Manchester City’s two-year ban from European competitions was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday morning and it’s fair to say it hasn’t gone down too well with a few Premier League managers.

The Citizens were found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations back in February, after the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) stated that the club had broken the rules by ‘overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016’.

Subsequently, the club were handed a two-year ban from Europe and a €30m fine. The former of which has, of course, since been overturned while City will instead have to pay a €10m fine for failing to co-operate with UEFA throughout the process.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, however, failed to recognise the reasoning for City’s reduced fine and dished out some typically strong words regarding the decision.

“A disgraceful decision – if City are not guilty then you are not punished with €10m. If you’re not guilty you shouldn’t have a fine. If they are guilty the decision is also a disgrace and you should be banned,” he said.

Jurgen Klopp similarly looked down upon the verdict, saying he “didn’t think it was a good day for football,” although he did also mention that he was “happy that City can play Champions League” and stands by his belief that “FFP is a good idea” as “it is there for protecting teams and the competition so nobody overspends.”

Former City assistant Mikel Arteta, however, offered a little more sympathy for his former employers and buddy Pep Guardiola, telling his press conference: “There is no question about what happened.

“They completely deserve to be in [the] Champions League because what they’ve done on the pitch is unquestionable and the regulators have looked at it and have decided that they haven’t done anything wrong.

“So you have the two aspects that are really clear and transparent and they’re going to be in Champions League because they deserve [it] for what they do on the pitch and what they do outside the pitch,” Arteta said.

Mikel Arteta, Pep GuardiolaMikel Arteta, Pep Guardiola
Mikel Arteta had a little more sympathy for his former employers | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The overturning of the ban, of course, has had a huge impact on clubs chasing Champions League berths for next season. And with Chelsea, Manchester United, Leicester and Wolves all within five points of one another with just two spots in Europe’s premier competition up for grabs, the already tight race has got even tighter with three games to go.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard though, has insisted little has changed for his side: “I was pretty neutral on it.

“I genuinely don’t see beyond the games in hand, we have a few games and we want to win them and see if it gets us Champions League football. I was never pinning my hopes on [the verdict]. If we win enough games, we can get in.

“I wouldn’t have liked the players to have thought, ‘oh there’s an extra place, we can relax a little bit’.”

Brendan Rodgers, Frank LampardBrendan Rodgers, Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard and Brendan Rodgers insisted the decision won’t have much impact on their respective side’s preparation for the rest of the season | Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers also seemed more focussed on the performances of his own players as opposed to the overturning of the ban, as the Foxes look to finish strong following their dire 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth on Sunday.

“Media wise there was a lot said, but football managers and players will be focusing on finishing as high as possible. For us, we have three games to go and what an incredible position that we are in.”


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