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A look at the legal issues in Man City’s appeal against UEFA

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GENEVA — Manchester City’s legal fight with UEFA was expected, but how the English champion will organize its legal tactics is not yet clear.

[ MORE: Man City files appeal against UEFA ban ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Wednesday confirmed City met a 10-day deadline to file an appeal against a two-year ban from European competition — punishment imposed for “serious breaches” of UEFA’s club finance monitoring rules and failing to cooperate with the investigation.

The court’s update came hours before City was to play in the Champions League at Real Madrid.

The aristocratic, 13-time European champions are just the kind of soccer power City’s owners from the Abu Dhabi royal family aimed to dethrone when buying an underachieving club in 2008. More than $1 billion of investment has brought four Premier League titles, the attention of UEFA investigators and still no European trophy.

City faces a likely tough case at CAS, which has previously upheld UEFA’s “Financial Fair Play” system and the use of evidence obtained by methods illegal under Swiss law.

Still, City chief executive Ferran Soriano insisted last week “the allegations are false” and promised fans “we will do everything that can be done to prove so.”

UEFA excluded City from playing in the Champions League, Europa League or Super Cup in the next two seasons. UEFA also fined City $32.5 million.

[ MORE: Griezmann gives Barcelona first leg draw with Napoli (video) ]

The investigation was opened after leaked club documents were reported in German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2018. The published evidence appeared to show City deceived UEFA by overstating sponsorship deals from 2012-16 and hid the source of revenue tied to its owners in Abu Dhabi.

UEFA’s rules allow unlimited spending on stadiums and youth development, but control spending on player transfers and wages. Clubs must break even on spending their commercial income set at fair market rates.

In Manchester, club officials reportedly call the pending appeal “CAS Two.” In ” CAS One,” City lost its attempt in November to have UEFA’s investigation thrown out on procedural grounds.

The case is likely to be fast-tracked and will start at sport’s highest court in Lausanne, Switzerland. It could later go to the Swiss Federal Tribunal for a further appeal.

If City does not like the results in Lausanne, longer-term options include the European Commission in Brussels and European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The UEFA judge who oversaw banning City, Jose Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues, sat at the European court for 12 years.

The case could also be settled out-of-court. That decision would involve UEFA leaders, including president Aleksander Ceferin, instead if its independent investigators and judges.

For UEFA, a prolonged contest with wealthy and determined club owners could be risky. A private agreement would surely be ratified by CAS.

“I think UEFA is too committed to FFP (Financial Fair Play) regulations to settle,” Antoine Duval, a sports law researcher who studies CAS, said in an interview.

If City’s appeal is lost, or only partially upheld by July, the club can seek a quick interim decision from a supreme court judge while the main federal appeal is prepared. A provisional freeze on UEFA’s ban could clear City to enter the next Champions League in September.

[ MORE: Bayern Munich puts Chelsea in three-goal hole ]

In May 2018, Peru captain Paolo Guerrero got a provisional federal ruling allowing him to play at his first World Cup weeks later. The 34-year-old Guerrero ultimately lost his federal appeal against a 14-month ban for doping.

“I would see much more reluctance on the side of the Swiss judges unless they are very confident Man City will prevail,” said Duval, who works at the Asser Institute in The Hague.

Key documents published in the “Football Leaks” series were likely obtained by a hacker now detained in Portugal.

City never disputed that the revelations were based on authentic information. Instead, it argued the evidence was stolen and reported out of context.

Illegally obtained evidence has been allowed by CAS and the federal court, including in appeals by FIFA officials filmed by undercover reporters and Ukrainian soccer players who fixed matches.

One of the internal emails said City officials preferred in a previous phase of UEFA monitoring to spend tens of millions on “the 50 best lawyers in the world” to sue rather than accept punishment.

UEFA also has financial accounts submitted by City that are mandatory for FFP compliance.

One reported big-money City lawyer is London-based Lord David Pannick, who beat Boris Johnson‘s government in a Brexit-related supreme court case in September.

In a previous soccer case, Pannick represented Queens Park Rangers in a failed attempt to have the English Football League’s financial fair play rules – modeled on UEFA’s system – judged unlawful under competition law. That case was settled after a first loss at a tribunal.

[ MORE: Report: Arsenal to let Lacazette leave for a Champions League club ]

In that first appeal, City’s legal team came from two London chambers, Freshfields and Monckton. It also retained the Swiss firm of veteran Olympic advisor Francois Carrard, using lawyers from its Lugano office and not the Lausanne base.

UEFA retained the Zurich-based firm of longtime advisor Michele Bernasconi, an in-demand CAS judge who is personally close to FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

A key next step in “CAS Two” is picking the three arbitrators. City and UEFA will each choose one, and the court appoints a panel president. Selections can be challenged.

Impartiality and independence of judges is one of the few grounds for appeal to the Swiss supreme court, Duval noted.

Infantino was UEFA general secretary in 2014 when he got involved in an agreement with City to forfeit $21.8 million of Champions League prize money in a first test of FFP rules. City’s high-value sponsorship deals from Abu Dhabi were also a factor then.

The settlement agreement six years ago then avoided a higher-stakes legal case for UEFA which could have undermined the FFP system just as it was established.

A CAS panel in 2016 upheld the UEFA rules’ compliance with European law in Galatasaray’s failed appeal against a one-season competition ban. There is speculation CAS judges could rule City’s two-year ban “disproportionate” and give a compromise verdict of only one season. However, Galatasaray, AC Milan and other clubs that broke financial rules were excluded for one year in cases that lacked the bad faith UEFA found in City’s conduct.

“It makes much more sense that Man City should face a longer sanction,” Duval said.

City’s lawyers, however, could question why UEFA dropped an FFP investigation into Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain last year with no action taken.

No timetable for City’s case was put forward by CAS on Wednesday. Previous appeals by clubs in UEFA financial cases were dealt with after a few months in June or July to avoid harming the next season’s competitions.

Soriano, the Man City chief executive, said he hoped for a resolution “before the beginning of the summer” in a statement notably toned down from previous, aggressive club comments.

Europa League: How to watch, odds, start time, predictions

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The UEFA Champions League and Europa League resume this week and I’m going to reveal my predictions for this next round as well as the latest odds for Europe’s top two continental tournaments.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

With Manchester City and Chelsea still in the Champions League and Manchester United and Wolves among the favorites to win the Europa League, there is a lot on the line for Premier League clubs in the coming weeks.

Just because the Premier League season is over, that doesn’t mean the action is over. Far from it.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

In the next few days the Europa League and Champions League Round of 16 second legs will take place before mini tournaments begin.

Man City lead Real Madrid 2-1 from their first leg in Spain, while Chelsea trail Bayern 3-0 as they head to Germany for the return game. Man United are all but in the quarterfinals, while Wolves are favored to make the Europa quarters too.

Lisbon, Portugal will host the Champions League games from the quarterfinal stage onwards, while the Europa League games will be hosted around Germany.

Below is a look at my predictions, the odds for the games this week and how to watch and follow all of the fixtures in the USA.


How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Round of 16 at home venues; Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com


JPW’s Champions League predictions


Round of 16 (August 7-8)
Friday, August 7: Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid (2-1)
Friday, August 7: Juventus 2-1 Lyon (0-1)
Saturday, August 8: Barcelona 3-1 Napoli (1-1)
Saturday, August 8: Bayern Munich 2-1 Chelsea (3-0)

JPW’s Europa League predictions

Round of 16 (August 5-6)
Copenhagen 1-2 Istanbul Basaksehir
Wolves 2-0 Olympiakos
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Rangers
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Wolfsburg
Basel 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Manchester United 3-1 LASK
Inter Milan 3-0 Getafe
Sevilla 1-3 Roma


Champions League betting odds

Round of 16 (August 7-8)
(-139) Manchester City v. Real Madrid (+320). Tie: +340
(-230) Juventus v. Lyon (+650). Tie: +340
(-150) Barcelona v. Napoli (+400). Tie: +300
(-250) Bayern Munich v. Chelsea (+650). Tie: +410

Quarterfinals (August 12-13)
(+200) Atalanta v. Paris Saint-Germain (+120). Tie: +285
(+225) RB Leipzig v. Atletico Madrid (+133). Tie: 220

Outright winner
Manchester City (+350)
Bayern Munich (+365)
Paris Saint-Germain (+450)
Atletico Madrid (+700)
Atalanta (+950)
Barcelona (+1100)
RB Leipzig (+1500)
Juventus (+1700)


Europa League betting odds

Round of 16 (August 5-6)
(+155) Copenhagen v. Istanbul Basaksehir (+180). Tie: +235
(-134) Wolves v. Olympiakos (+390). Tie: +260
(-162) Bayer Leverkusen v. Rangers (+410). Tie: +310
(+135) Shakhtar Donetsk v. Wolfsburg (+185). Tie: +265
(+155) Basel v. Eintracht Frankfurt (+155). Tie: +275
(-455) Manchester United v. LASK (+1200). Tie: +550
(-143) Inter Milan v. Getafe (+385). Tie: +285
(+110) Sevilla v. Roma (+270). Tie: +230

Outright winner
Manchester United (+160)
Inter Milan (+500)
Bayer Leverkusen (+700)
Wolves (+800)
Sevilla (+900)

Man City v. Real Madrid preview: Team news, start time, odds prediction

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Manchester City – Real Madrid should be an absolute classic in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg on Friday (start time, 3pm ET) at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola and Man City have a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Madrid back in late February before the coronavirus pandemic paused play, as Kevin de Bruyne put in a masterful display in the Santiago Bernabeu to give City the edge. Since then Man City have had their Champions League ban overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Real have won La Liga as Zinedine Zidane’s side were in imperious form after the restart.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

With midfield and attacking stars set to dazzle on both teams, this is not a game you want to miss as the quarterfinal stage onwards will be held in Lisbon, Portugal. Man City are favorites to win the Champions League, their holy grail, but the most successful team in the history of the competition stands in their way.

Check out the latest Manchester City – Real Madrid team news, betting odds, how to watch and stream, score prediction and more below.


Team news

Man City have no fresh injury concerns, as Sergio Aguero remains their main absentee up top after undergoing knee surgery in June. Guardiola is hoping his star striker is fit enough to play later this month if Man City reach the semifinals and final in Portugal. Benjamin Mendy is suspended, so Joao Cancelo is likely to start at left back.

Real Madrid have named their 24-man squad and Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez have been both left at home by Zidane. Captain and legendary center back Sergio Ramos is suspended from the first leg but will travel with the team to Manchester. Mariano Diaz will not feature after testing positive for coronavirus.


What they’re saying

Man City midfielder Rodri is full of confidence ahead of facing Real: “I am really confident. They are a great team and they can beat you, because they are Real Madrid, but we have to show them we are a better team. We showed them at their home, but we need to be ready because you never know what is going to happen. We have to be focused. They are the greatest team in La Liga and they have shown that this year. We need to do our best to get to the next round.”

Raphael Varane on Real’s big-game experience being key: “We’re aware of the excellent work we’ve done over the past few years. It doesn’t happen often. We try to remember those days to keep working hard and try to take something out of that experience. We know that little things can make a difference in games like this. We’ve got a lot of experience in these big matches, so we can feel confident. We’re just as determined as before. Our goal is to win, and that’s partly due to the DNA of this club. We always want to put the past aside, move on and win.”


Odds and ends (full Champions League odds)

The bookies believe hosts Manchester City (-139) are the favorites but beware of a Real Madrid side (+320) with nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially with Hazard, Benzema and Rodrygo looking so good in recent weeks. The tie at +340 looks like the best bet here.


Prediction

This is a really tough one to call. Man City were superb after the restart in the Premier League but lost to Southampton and Chelsea, plus lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinal. Defensive issues remain the key problem for Guardiola and Real’s star attacking lineup could expose that weakness. Real Madrid have been better defensively and ground out wins galore on their way to winning La Liga, but Zidane’s boys have to go for this and that will leave plenty of gaps at the back, especially without Ramos. I’m going to go for a 2-2 draw which will just see Man City squeeze through.


How to watch, stream Manchester City – Real Madrid

Date: August 7
Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester – Round of 16 second leg (Man City lead 2-1 from first leg)
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: Here at NBCSports.com

Premier League transfers: Every deal from all 20 clubs

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Premier League transfers will ramp up throughout the summer months and here you will find every deal from all 20 Premier League clubs ahead of the 2020-21 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Premier League transfer window runs from July 27 to Oct. 5 in the summer, as the shortened offseason means there’s a flurry of action already happening and most clubs will want their squads sorted before the 2020-21 season kicks off on Sept. 12.

Given the fact that clubs have less than 40 days before the new season starts, you’d think that chairman, sporting directors and managers would all be pretty busy right now as they try and get their business done early. But we all know that when it comes to Premier League transfers, clubs can’t stay away from a deadline day.

[ MORE: Predicting the 2020-21 Premier League standings ]

Even during the coronavirus pandemic amid huge financial implications, huge sums of money are still being talked about when it comes to potential transfers.

Below are the lists of deals for each club, as we will update this page as and when deals happen from now until Oct. 5 when the summer window shuts.


Arsenal

Out
Tobi Omole (Released)
Dinos Mavropanos (Stuttgart) Loan

Aston Villa

Out
Ross McCormack (Released)
Callum O’Hare (Released)
Jack Birch (Released)
Anton Hooper (Released)
Colin Odutayo (Released)
Dimitri Sea (Released)
Jamie Searle (Released)
Matija Sarkic (Wolves) Free

Brighton and Hove Albion

In
Jensen Weir (Wigan)
Adam Lallana (Liverpool) Free
Joel Veltman (Ajax)

Out
Leon Balogun (Wigan) Loan
Archie Davies (Released)
Lewis Freestone (Released)
George Cox (Fortuna Sittard)
Anthony Knockaert (Fulham)
Beram Kayal (Released)

Burnley

Out
Joe Hart (Released)
Jeff Hendrick (Released)
Adam Legzdins (Released)
Aaron Lennon (Released)
Oliver Younger (Released)
Scott Wilson (Released)
Joel Senior (Released)

Chelsea

In
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) More info
Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) More info

Out
Josh Grant (Released)
Marcel Lavinier (Released)
Richard Nartey (Released)

Crystal Palace

In
Nathan Ferguson (West Brom) Free
Jake Giddings (Free)

Out
Kian Flanagan (Released)
Dion-Curtis Henry (Released)
Daniel Tupper (Released)

Everton

In
Niels Nkounkou (Marseille) Free

Out
Morgan Feeney (Released)
Alexander Denny (Released)
Matthew Foulds (Released)
Luke Garbutt (Released)
Oumar Niasse (Released)
Morgan Schneiderlin (Nice)
Leighton Baines (Retired)
Maarten Stekelenburg (Released)
Nathangelo Markelo (FC Twente)
Kieran Dowell (Norwich City)

Leeds United

In
Helder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Illan Meslier (Lorient)

Out
Ryan Edmondson (Aberdeen) Loan

Leicester

Out
Calvin Bassey (Rangers)
Viktor Johansson (Released)
Ryan Loft (Released)
Connor Tee (Released)

Liverpool

Out
Daniel Atherton (Released)
Pedro Chirivella (Nantes) Free
Nathaniel Clyne (Released)
Shamal George (Released)
Jack Walls (Released)
Dejan Lovren (Zenit)
Adam Lallana (Brighton) Free

Manchester City

In
Pablo Moreno (Juventus)
Ferran Torres (Valencia) More info

Out
Ernest Agyiri (Released)
Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich)

Manchester United

In
Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua) Loan

Out
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (Released)
Dion McGee (Released)
Angel Gomes (Released)
Ethan Hamilton (Released)
Michael O’Hara (Released)
Largie Ramazani (Released)
George Tanner (Released)

Newcastle United

In
Mark Gillespie (Motherwell) Free

Out
Luke Charman (Released)
Jack Colback (Released)
Robert Elliott (Released)
Liam Gibson (Released)
Nathan Harker (Released)

Sheffield United

In
Wes Foderingham (Rangers) Free

Out
Mark Duffy (Released)
Keenan Ferguson (Released)
Oliver Greaves (Released)
Jake Eastwood (Kilmarnock) Loan

Southampton

Out
Alexander Cull (Released)
Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) Loan
Maya Yoshida (Released)

Tottenham Hotspur

Out
Jan Vertonghen (Released)
Michel Vorm (Released)
Tariq Hinds (Released)
Rayan Clarke (Released)
Jonathan Dinzeyi (Released)
Phoenix Patterson (Released)
Maxwell Statham (Released)
Maximus Tainio (Released)
Troy Parrott (Millwall) Loan

West Bromwich Albion

Out
Chris Brunt (Released)
Finn Azaz (Cheltenham Town) Loan

West Ham United

In
Tomas Soucek (Slavia Prague)

Out
Sead Haksabanovic (IFK Norrkoping)
Carlos Sanchez (Released)
Pablo Zabaleta (Released)

Wolverhampton Wanderers

In
Matija Sarkic (Aston Villa) Free

Out
Jordan Graham (Released)
Connor Johnson (Released)
Callum Thompson (Released)
Helder Costa (Leeds)
Tsun Dai (Shenzhen)
Ryan Giles (Coventry) Loan
Elliot Watt (Bradford)

Transfer news: Gabriel to Arsenal; Lewis to Liverpool

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In the latest transfer news Gabriel Magalhaes has been linked with a move to Arsenal, while Jamal Lewis to Liverpool is a surprising transfer rumor.

[ MORE: Predicting 2020-21 PL table ]

Starting in north London, Arsenal appear to be kicking on with their pursuit of Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes who has also been linked with Manchester United, Everton and Napoli.

The Lille center back, 22, is certainly a wanted man and Gabriel will cost $35 million. According to France Bleu, Arsenal are now at the front of the queue for Gabriel.

Arsenal want to strengthen their defensive unit and big changes are expected at the back with Pablo Mari, William Saliba and now Gabriel expected to be the new wave of talent at center back. That said, with David Luiz and Rob Holding playing really well in recent weeks, plus Shkodran Mustafi turning things around too and Sokratis and Calum Chambers around, why do Arsenal need so many center backs?

If Mikel Arteta could move on plenty of these defensive players then he should be good to bring in Gabriel. Expect plenty of outs at Arsenal this summer as the north London club continue to battle through the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jamal Lewis to Liverpool
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Moving up to Liverpool and a slightly surprising report, as Norwich’s Jamal Lewis to Liverpool is not a move many expected this summer.

Multiple reports claim that Liverpool value Lewis at $13 million but Norwich want closer to $26 million, so there’s some negotiating that needs to happen here.

Lewis, 22, is a rising star at left back but with Andy Robertson around at Liverpool, he will be an understudy for many years to come. The Northern Ireland international had a very solid first season in the Premier League with Norwich as he and Max Aarons stood out as attacking full backs for the Canaries.

Robertson has no cover at left back and when he has been out injured, Jurgen Klopp has used James Milner as an emergency left back and in a pinch Trent Alexander-Arnold can switch over to the left.