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Coronavirus crisis could delay Man City appeal against Champions League ban

08:45 GMT 17/03/2020
UEFA Pep Guardiola
The Premier League champions had hoped for an early resolution after they were handed a two-year suspension from European football

Manchester City’s appeal against their two-year ban from the Champions League could be delayed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) now announcing it will not host any in-person hearings until May at the earliest.

The Premier League champions have appealed to CAS against the punishment, which included a €30 million fine (£25m/$33m), handed out by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.

But the organisation, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, has been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

City had hoped to have their hearing heard by early summer, with their ban set to start at the beginning of next season.

CEO Ferran Soriano insisted that "the allegations are not true" last month and added that "we are looking for an early resolution obviously through a thorough process and a fair process so my best hope is that this will be finished before the beginning of the summer".

However, there is uncertainty surrounding the European football calendar with domestic leagues and the Champions League and Europa League currently suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A potential outline of how the fixture schedule could be reshaped may become clearer after UEFA hosts a meeting – via video conference – of members from all 55 associations across Europe on Tuesday.

CAS had already postponed three hearings and has 16 cases already scheduled until May 18, with the City case not yet listed.

And it said in a statement on Tuesday: "CAS will not host any in-person hearing before 1 May 2020, at the earliest.

"Depending on the circumstances of each individual case, the arbitrators and parties are encouraged to conduct hearings by video-conference or to cancel them (final award on the basis of the written submissions). If such measures are not possible or appropriate, the hearings must be postponed until May 2020 or later.

"Depending on the evolution of the Covid-19 outbreak, the prohibition of in-person hearings may be extended."

City could ask UEFA for a delay to their Champions League ban if the impact of the coronavirus crisis affects their appeal against their suspension.

The club have denied any wrongdoing after the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body found City guilty of "overstating its sponsorship revenue" between 2012 and 2016.