Manchester City had a legal team as strong as their playing squad

Manchester City had a legal team as strong as their playing squad to overturn Champions League ban and were preparing for CAS case BEFORE original UEFA ban had even been handed down

  • Manchester City’s legal team had Champions League ban overturned 
  • Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed two-year ban given by UEFA
  • The club had employed a fearsome team of lawyers to fight the case 

It was a Latin expression which gave Manchester City belief that they would prevail in their battle with UEFA.

Translated, de novo means ‘from the new’. In legal language it is effectively ‘to start afresh’.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport case which gave the Premier League club a stunning victory was always going to be de novo. 

Manchester City constructed top legal team to fight their case at Court of Arbitration for Sport 

The legal team was as strong as the title-winning squad of footballers City have built 

That is why, Sportsmail understands, City shifted their attention to an ultimate date with CAS before they had even received their punishment from UEFA in February.

The signs that European football’s governing body were not going to rule in City’s favour were there early on. 

UEFA’s investigatory chamber, which included ex-Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry in its panel of eight, demanded an explanation behind the seemingly damning emails obtained by a hacker and published in German media which triggered the probe.

UEFA’s eight-strong investigatory chamber including former Liverpool CEO Rick Parry

Taken at face value, they strongly suggested City had set up an operation to disguise owner investment via sponsorship deals to allow them to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

City could barely contain their anger. To the press, they said they would not comment on materials purported to be hacked or stolen. It is understood that they took a similar stance with UEFA’s investigators. But behind closed doors, they planned for their appeal.

Before the investigatory chamber’s findings had been passed on to UEFA’s adjudicatory board, City made their first contact with CAS in a bid to get the case thrown out, furious that stories over a planned penalty had been leaked.

It was from that moment they took a similar approach to building a legal team as they did to their playing squad. The continent was scoured for legal expertise. Staff were brought in from across a number of firms, each an expert in their field, and a common strategy was developed.

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano had protested their innocence from the start

City always felt that they had important context to add to the emails and that an independent court would rule in their favour. 

That was why chief executive Ferran Soriano responded to the subsequent UEFA punishment by stating on the record that they had ‘irrefutable evidence’ to prove their innocence. That evidence consisted of pages of accounting reports and witness statements.

With the club’s reputation on the line, no expense was spared. For the past 18 months, the situation has been the priority among City’s executives. The fact that the hearing went on for three days is an indication of how much evidence the club’s lawyers provided.

The case was complex, but in simple terms it centred on City displaying the underlying source of their funding and countering those claims. They were able to do that, and using the time they had found thanks to their early start, to provide a robust argument.

City will now pick up a hefty legal bill as they were fined for failing to co-operate with UEFA’s initial probe. A price worth paying given the ramifications of defeat.

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