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Man City follows Milan path to final from UEFA legal clash

GENEVA (AP) – The club UEFA wanted to be banned from the Champions League before the season wentthe final. Manchester City advanced this week to the biggest game in European club soccer and has a shot at repeating what another undesirable — AC Milan — pulled off 14 years ago.

Another warning for City facing Chelsea on May 29 in Istanbul could be that Milan won the 2007 final against an English opponent, Liverpool. Milan and City arrived at their finals ten months after UEFA found it could not exclude the teams because of technicalities in its own rules.

City got a two-year ban from European competitions overturned last July partly because the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled some evidence UEFA relied on to prove alleged financial wrongdoing was time-barred.

For Milan, a club official was implicated in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal that rocked Italian soccer in 2006 offseason after the club finished runner-up in Serie A.

The club lost and then regained a Champions League place when a points deduction by Italian authorities was reduced on appeal. Then, UEFA found itself helpless to act within its existing rules when the Italian soccer federation formally entered Milan. It adjusted to third in Serie A in the Champions League qualifying rounds.

UEFA legal clash

A UEFA emergency panel chaired by then-president Lennart Johansson met in August 2006. It decided there was “no choice but to admit AC Milan … because of an insufficient legal basis in the regulations which would allow not admitting AC Milan under specific circumstances.”

UEFA’s updated punishment for allegations linked to match-fixing took effect in April 2007, weeks before the Champions League final. After Milan beat Liverpool 2-1, captain Paolo Maldini was handed the iconic European Cup trophy by newly elected UEFA president Michel Platini.year in corruption.”

Porto was another club that UEFA – now under Platini’s leadership – wanted to expel but could not.

A hectic two weeks in June 2008 saw UEFA’s disciplinary committee ban Porto for allegedly bribing referees several seasons earlier; then, its appeals panel reversed the decision.

Porto was reprieved because UEFA could not act ahead of appeals in Portugal being resolved in the so-called Golden Whistle case. The team fell short of the final, losing in the quarterfinals to Manchester United. UEFA eventually successfully banned clubs from the Champions League and Europa League for links to match-fixing or breaking the Financial Fair Play rules. They monitor the income and spending of clubs that qualify for its competitions.

Expected targets of FFP were City and Paris Saint-Germain, fast-rising clubs backed by sovereign wealth from Abu Dhabi and Qatar, respectively. Both had 20 million euros ($24 million) of their Champions League prize money deducted in 2014.

When City officials hacked internal documents and emails published in November 2018 by German magazine Der Spiegel, UEFA investigated the reported claims of evading rules and misleading FFP investigators.

The City denied wrongdoing and obstructed the investigation. UEFA-appointed judges imposed a two-year ban to take effect this season and fined the club 30 million euros ($36 million).

A landmark CAS ruling annulled the ban because UEFA’s evidence either did not prove the case or expired according to FFP rules. The City was fined 10 million euros ($12 million) for its lack of cooperation.

“We know people talk about it. But it doesn’t give us any more satisfaction,” City coach Pep Guardiola said of last July’s legal case. “The satisfaction comes from on the pitch because we qualified for the Champions League.”

Now Guardiola has City within one game of being European champion for the first time.

Champions League finals are elusive for seven-time European champion Milan and two-time winner Porto. Neither has been beyond the quarterfinals since the seasons they escaped UEFA’s legal tackles.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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