What does CAS's decision to overturn Man City's ban mean to Chelsea, Man United & Leicester?

What does CAS's decision to overturn Man City's ban mean to Chelsea, Man United & Leicester?

Football fans across the globe eagerly waited for the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision on Monday morning as one would wait for the last penalty kick in a final. 

The results came, and Manchester City celebrated. The CAS overturned their two-year ban after a successful appeal by the now immediate former Premier League champions. 

For Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester, it was not the best news as it will mean going back to 'normal' after toying with the thought of finishing fifth and still qualifying for the Champions League. 

The ban had initially opened doors for the Champions League-chasing sides, where a fifth spot finish could have still been enough to qualify. 

But as it stands, a fifth-spot finish will only be good enough for Europa League, just like it has been. 

The ruling

Pep Guardiola's side were handed a two-year European suspension and fined £25million for breaching FFP rules in February, but made an appeal at the CAS. 

The CAS heard both parties through a virtual session in June, before settling for Monday, July 13 as the day the would issue their ruling.

They, in their ruling, however, said the allegations against City were either not established or time-barred, therefore striking off the ban.

City though were still fined €10m (£8.9m) for failing to cooperate with UEFA as part of the routine investigations. 

The lack of cooperation was reportedly intentional as the club felt the evidence against them was acquired through 'leaked' emails and invoices, a path they faulted.

The battle for Europe

The ban did not in any way affect slots for English teams in Europe's premier club competition, meaning four teams could have still qualified regardless. 

City have already qualified for next season's Champions League, and the chasing pack would have relished the decision to be upheld as it would have meant one more slot; in this case, the team finishing fifth. 

And now since the decision is overturned, it's back to normal business for Chelsea, Manchester United, Leicester and to some extent, Wolves as they battle for the two remaining slots.

There is though a little bit of hope for the sides chasing the Champions League spots if Wolves or Man United finish outside the top-four and win the Europa League. 

The above scenario would mean five English teams will qualify for the continental competition.

In the meantime, Man United could move to third if they win against Southampton on Monday night, which will push Chelsea and Leicester to fourth and fifth respectively.

The reactions

Man City officials took to social media to celebrate. In a photo that was shared on Instagram but immediately brought down, Pep Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain, and other key figures could be seen smiling for obvious reasons immediately after the announcement.  

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is among the first managers to respond to the decision, making it clear he never 'thought so much about it'. 

"I just listened to the result as everyone else did this morning," he said during his pre-match conference ahead of their clash against Norwich.

"I don’t see beyond the games ahead. We want to win them and see if it gets us Champions League football for next season. I was never pinning my hopes on it meaning another team getting in. We worry about ourselves," he added. 

LaLiga's boss Javier Tebas, though was not impressed with the decision, choosing to criticize the court. 

“We have to reassess whether the Cas is the appropriate body to which to appeal institutional decisions in football," he said. 

"Switzerland is a country with a great history of arbitration, the Cas is not up to standard.”

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