Eight of the Premier League’s current top 10 sides have launched a stunning bid to thwart Manchester City’s attempts to play in the Champions League next season.
The reigning Premier League champions were handed a two-year ban from the competition for breaching Financial Fair Play rules in February but will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
However, the Daily Mail claim that the entire top 10 – except for City and Sheffield United – have submitted a joint application to CAS in an attempt to stop City’s attempt to play in the Champions League.
The group, which includes Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, separately wrote to the same law firm, which then sent an application supported by all to CAS.
In the letter, the clubs say they ’strongly object’ if City’s punishment is ‘stayed’ while their appeal is ongoing.
The Mail’s report adds that City believe certain rivals have been leading the charge against them. The latest action will only strengthen that thought.
A source with knowledge of the situation said rival clubs have come together to see City finally punished.
“The feeling is that enough is enough,” the source said. “For too long, City have been able to get away with breaching the rules at the expense of at least one other club that has been unable to get into the Champions League.
“The fear is that they will be able to delay any punishment and – should they win the appeal – get off scot-free, which would be outrageous.”
City were banned from the Champions League and fined £25 million by UEFA for ‘serious breaches’ of Financial Fair Play.
It didn’t take long before they announced their intentions to appeal, though.
City’s rivals are concerned that the appeal, along with the coronavirus crisis, will cause the case to be delayed and that Pep Guardiola’s side will be in the Champions League next season.
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