Bayern chair says UEFA ‘didn’t do a great job’ on City case

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
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Updated 28 July 2020

Bayern chair says UEFA ‘didn’t do a great job’ on City case

  • The full judgment has yet to be published

NEW YORK: UEFA “didn’t do a great job” investigating Manchester City after the English club’s two-year ban from European competitions was overturned, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Monday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled two weeks ago that some of UEFA's accusations of financial violations by City could not be proven and others were “time-barred" because they did not meet a 5-year statute of limitations.

It means the Abu Dhabi-owned club will be able to rejoin teams like Bayern in the Champions League next season.

“I believe the final decision made by CAS was an outcome because the UEFA panel responsible for Champions League matters didn’t do a great job, it’s looking like,” Rummenigge said in a video call. “What I heard from different sources is that it was not good organized in advance."

The full judgment has yet to be published. In a statement after the verdict, UEFA highlighted the “insufficient conclusive evidence" presented to CAS but said it would not comment further.

“Congrats to the colleagues of Manchester City that they can participate next year in Champions League and the year after as well,” said Rummenigge, a member of the European Club Association's executive board.

Bayern recently did business with City, buying Leroy Sane in a transfer worth up to €60 million  ($70 million) — one of the biggest deals concluded amid the financial instability caused by the coronavirus pandemic

“The transfer market is looking like affected by corona because we had been interested to transfer him one year ago when the transfer amount was totally different than today," Rummenigge said. "So we are happy that we have been able to transfer him now in favor of Bayern Munich. The only thing it’s looking like that the agents are trying to keep their salary on a very high level."

The German champions will miss out on cash from their abandoned summer tour of China, instead launching a virtual version on Monday with sponsor Audi to connect fans with the players.

Due to the loss of income from also playing games without fans and disruption to broadcast contracts, UEFA has eased its rules for monitoring spending by Europe’s top clubs. Two accounting years for clubs have effectively been combined into one that will be assessed next year.

“I believe, still optimistic that Financial Fair Play done in a different way could be very helpful to come back on a bit more rational basis," Rummenigge said. “Because I believe that is a request from our supporters and we should listen to them as well.”

UEFA’s FFP program requires clubs which qualify for European competitions to approach breaking even on their spending on transfers and wages against commercial income. Club owners are allowed unlimited spending on stadium projects and youth training, but not to bail out debts.


Al-Nassr on target for first Asian crown

Updated 28 September 2020

Al-Nassr on target for first Asian crown

  • The Riyadh giants defeated compatriots Al-Taawoun 1-0 on Sunday in the second round to be rewarded with another all-Saudi clash in the quarter-final
  • Now only Al-Ahli, who finished third in the SPL season, a full 14 points behind Al-Nassr, stand between Rui Vitoria’s men and a place in the last four

RIYADH: Al-Nassr may have missed out on the 2020 Saudi Pro League (SPL) title but they are now regarded as favorites to win a first continental crown after rivals Al-Hilal and Al-Sadd both fell by the wayside in the AFC Champions League.

The Riyadh giants defeated compatriots Al-Taawoun 1-0 on Sunday in the second round to be rewarded with another all-Saudi clash in the quarter-final. Now only Al-Ahli, who finished third in the SPL season, a full 14 points behind Al-Nassr, stand between Rui Vitoria’s men and a place in the last four.

“When you get to this stage of a major competition like this then you don’t mind who you play as every team is a strong one,” the Portuguese coach said.

“The game against Al-Taawoun was tough and the game against Al-Ahli will be tough. We will have to be at our best.”

Al-Nassr are looking strong at both ends of the field. Moroccan goal-machine Abderrazak Hamdallah finally broke the deadlock on Sunday evening with 15 minutes remaining, firing home a low shot from close range.

The striker, who won the 2019 SPL golden boot while propelling Al-Nassr to the title, has now equaled the tournament record set by Shanghai SIPG’s Hulk, of scoring in nine consecutive Champions League appearances.

“We know that if he gets a chance then he will score. Whether the chance comes in the first or last minute, it doesn’t matter but, of course, this is a team effort,” added Vitoria.

As clinical as Al-Nassr are in front of goal, they are solid at the back, conceding just two goals in the five games that have taken place since the tournament restarted in mid-September.

Both Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli won their respective groups but the Jeddah club did not look as convincing as their Riyadh rivals, losing two of the four games they had to play after Al-Wahda of Abu Dhabi had to withdraw over positive test results at the club for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The second-round win over Shabab Al-Ahli was as tight as could be as the Saudi team triumphed in a penalty shootout over the Dubai club after the game had finished 1-1.

“We had no preference as to whether we would play Al-Nassr or Al-Taawoun,” said Al-Ahli coach Vladan Milojevic on Monday. “It is exciting to play another team from the same country in the quarter-final. We know each other well and it will be good for the fans too. Any team at this stage is strong.”

Should Al-Nassr progress, the semi-final should hold no fears. Defending Asian champions Al-Hilal were regarded as the favorites from the West Zone (the tournament is divided into two geographic halves until the final) but after topping their group, the title-holders were forced to withdraw by the Asian Football Confederation last Wednesday after the squad was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak.

While much of Asia sympathized with Al-Hilal, the absence of the current Asian and Saudi Arabian champions will not be mourned too much at Al-Nassr.

On Sunday, another strong favorite was eliminated. Al-Sadd of Qatar are coached by former Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi and boast former Arsenal striker Santi Cazorla, South Korean internationals Nam Tae-hee and Jung Woo-yung and a number of Qatar’s 2019 Asian Cup-winning squad in their ranks. The 2011 champions, who finished just behind Al-Nassr in the group stage, were expected to go far.

Instead, they lost 1-0 to Persepolis. The Iranians will take on Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan, who defeated Esteghlal 2-1, another team from Tehran, in the other quarter final. Both teams have plenty of Asian experience and knowhow but neither have the star power of Al-Hilal and Al-Sadd.

Should Al-Nassr get to the final then they will face what could be a very tired East Asian opponent. The group stage resumes in mid-November on the opposite side of the continent and that means teams from Japan, China, Australia, or South Korea would arrive for the final after playing as many as nine games in the space on the back of domestic commitments.

The route to a first Asian crown for Al-Nassr is looking clearer than it has ever done though Al-Ahli will have something to say about that on Wednesday.