Manchester City are set to learn their European fate on July 13.
Last season’s Premier League champions have been locked in a battle with UEFA after they were banned from European football for two years in February for breaches of the governing body’s Financial Fair Play rules.
They appealed against the punishment — which came with a 30million euros (£27m) fine — to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and a three-day hearing was heard in Switzerland and over video conference last month.
The verdict was expected on July 10, but UEFA are understood to have asked for it to be pushed back to avoid clashing with the draw for the Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final which takes place on that date.
The result will be significant. Should the ban be upheld, City will have to persuade their star players, in particular, 29-year-old Kevin de Bruyne, to remain at the Etihad Stadium despite two years without European football. They will also miss out on the vast revenues that the Champions League brings.
Such a verdict would have the knock-on effect that City’s place in next season’s competition will go to the club which finishes in fifth place in the Premier League.
Should City’s appeal be successful, it will be seen as a landmark victory and serious questions of UEFA’s FFP system will be asked. A third option that the ban is cut is also a possibility.
City were found by UEFA to have committed ‘serious breaches’ of the rules between 2012 and 2016 following an investigation launched after Portuguese hacker Rui Pinto leaked documents including internal emails from the club to German media.
Following the announcement of the ban and fine they immediately announced their intention to appeal with chief executive Ferran Soriano stating that they had ‘irrefutable evidence’ to back up their case.
Pinto is currently under house arrest and is awaiting trial in Portugal.
Both Manchester City and UEFA declined to comment.