Man City sought damages from UEFA over alleged leaks concerning Financial Fair Play case

Manchester City sought damages from UEFA over what they alleged were leaks of confidential information to the media concerning their Financial Fair Play case, court documents show.

Details of City’s appeal against UEFA’s FFP investigation are contained in written reasons published by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In November last year CAS announced City’s appeal to halt UEFA’s FFP investigation was “inadmissible” because UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had not yet determined what, if any, punishment the club should face if found guilty of breaching spending controls.

The full appeal judgement shows that City argued a decision by the CFCB investigatory chamber to refer the case to its adjudicatory chamber had been taken “improperly and prematurely”.

They also argued UEFA had “systematically breached, and continues to breach, its express obligations of confidentiality”, claiming individuals working within the governing body were briefing journalists. As a result, they said, the investigation should be suspended, and UEFA should conduct an inquiry into the alleged leaks.

“These ongoing and egregious breaches undermine the very integrity of UEFA’s adjudicatory process, which is a consensual dispute resolution mechanism with confidentiality at its core,” City said in their written appeal submission.

The New York Times published an article days before UEFA announced the referral decision in May 2019 that investigators were seeking a Champions League ban over the alleged FFP breaches.

The head of the CFCB’s investigatory chamber Yves Leterme responded to City’s claims of leaks in an angry letter sent in May last year, just after the decision to refer City to the AC was announced.

In it, he wrote: “I must vehemently reject your allegations of unlawful activities, either by myself or by any of the members of the UEFA CFCB, in particular of its Investigatory Chamber (IC).

“Your allegations are groundless in the merits and unacceptable in tone.

“Please be advised that I will not continue such an exchange of correspondence and that I will not respond further to groundless accusations directed against me personally and/or against my fellow members of the IC.”

City argued in its appeal that “the Swiss law personality rights of the appellant (City) have been violated by the leaks and that the respondent (UEFA) is responsible for such violation”.

CAS ruled City’s appeal inadmissible, and all further motions were dismissed. In respect of the claim for damages and City’s call for an investigation into alleged leaks, CAS said it could not be pursued solely before any decision had been rendered by the adjudicatory chamber.

Allegations that City had breached FFP rules were published by German magazine Der Spiegel.

No announcement on the outcome of City’s case has yet been made by the CFCB’s adjudicatory chamber. City strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

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