LAUSANNE: Paris Saint-Germain have escaped any possible attempt by UEFA to punish them over alleged breaches of financial fair play rules.

The French champions challenged the European federation’s pursuit on a technicality and were vindicated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport – as were Turkish club Galatasaray last month. The CAS ruling could also come to the aid of English champions Manchester City.

PSG and City were cast back under the European federation’s financial microscope after information which appeared to challenge their settlements with UEFA were published in last autumn’s Football Leaks revelations.

A Portuguese hacker, identified as Budapest-based Rui Pinto, is currently resisting an attempt to extradite him from Hungary and back to Lisbon on charges connected with  extortion, illegal data access and breach of confidentiality.

His lawyers have asserted that he was the source of the Football Leaks documentation released to, and published by, a dozen European media outlets.

On June 13 last year the investigatory chamber of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body ruled that an investigation into PSG’s compliance with the FFP regulations should be closed and binding.

Nine days later, however, on June 22, the chairman of the CFCB ordered a review and the UEFA adjudicatory chamber decided on September 19 that the case should be referred back to the investigatory chamber for further investigation.

PSG then appealed to CAS on October 3 that UEFA’s rules laid down that the review order had been made beyond the formal 10-day deadline. CAS agreed.

Last month Turkish club Galatasaray won an appeal at CAS on similar grounds.

UEFA issued a similar statement then and this time again, promising to study the regulations and close the loophole.

CAS judgment:

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal arbitration procedure between the French football club Paris Saint-Germain Football SASP (Paris Saint-Germain) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

The appeal filed at the CAS on 3 October 2018 by Paris Saint-Germain against the decision issued on 19 September 2018 by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) (the Challenged Decision) is upheld and the Challenged decision is set aside.

The decision issued on 13 June 2018 by the Investigatory Chamber of the UEFA CFCB in which the investigation into Paris Saint-Germain’s compliance with the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations was closed is thus final and binding.

On 22 June 2018, the Chairman of the UEFA CFCB, on the basis of Article 16 (1) of the UEFA CFCB Procedural Rules (the Applicable Rules), ordered that the Adjudicatory Chamber review the decision taken by the Investigatory Chamber on 13 June 2018.

The Adjudicatory Chamber ruled on 19 September 2018 that the case should be referred back to the Investigatory Chamber for further investigation.

On 3 October 2018, Paris Saint-Germain filed an appeal at the CAS seeking to have such decision annulled on the basis that Article 16 (1) provided for a 10-day review period during which any review should be instigated and completed and that the Challenged Decision was manifestly late.

The CAS Panel in charge of the matter issued its decision on the basis of the parties’ written submissions.

The CAS Panel concurred that the 10-day time limit which starts to run from the date of communication of the decision of the Chief Investigator to the CFCB Chairman, as set out in Article 16 (1) of the Applicable Rules, did indeed mean that the review conducted by the Adjudicatory Chamber should have taken place within ten days and that since the Challenged Decision was issued beyond the 10-day time limit, the Challenged Decision was untimely and must be annulled.

UEFA statement:

UEFA takes note of today’s decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), in Lausanne, by means of which the appeal filed by Paris Saint-Germain against UEFA with respect to the decision rendered by the CFCB Adjudicatory Chamber on 19 September 2018 was upheld and the challenged decision set aside.

UEFA will analyse this latest CAS award in detail and will consider implementing as soon as possible any clarifications or amendments to its rules that may result from the analysis of the abovementioned award.

The CAS decision does not put in doubt the objectives of the UEFA Club Licensing & Financial Fair Play system.