London, United Kingdom | AFP | Gary Neville has backed Manchester City to win an appeal against a two-season ban from European competition imposed by a “hopeless” UEFA.
European football’s governing body announced on Friday that City has been banned from continental competition for two seasons for what UEFA said were “serious” financial fair-play breaches between 2012 and 2016.
English Premier League champions City, who were also fined 30 million euros ($32.5 million), responded quickly to say they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
And former Manchester United defender Neville believes City’s legal challenge will prove successful.
“I think City will beat UEFA. UEFA, I have no faith in them whatsoever,” Sky Sports pundit Neville told the broadcaster on Monday.
“I think essentially they are a hopeless organisation who will just apply what would be erratic disciplinary sanctions for different things and I think City will beat them in the courts.”
Neville added: “I think it will get stuck in the courts for some time, but I think City will win in the end.”
Jamie Carragher, a fellow Sky broadcaster, questioned the timing of UEFA’s decision given Pep Guardiola’s City face Spanish giants Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 tie in the Champions League later this month.
“I can’t believe they are in the competition now. What would happen if City win this competition this season?,” said the former Liverpool defender.
“They are the favourites for it, one of the best teams in Europe and it would make a mockery of the competition.”
Carragher added: “UEFA will be desperate for Man City to get beat by Real Madrid, absolutely desperate. Can you imagine people from UEFA having to give the cup in Istanbul to a Man City player?
“The first question Pep would get asked after the game is it a fake win? They will be asked questions about the merits of the club and competition. They are in the competition now and if they win it, it will almost be tainted.
“I think for UEFA, they should have either took Man City out of the competition right now or left this decision until the end of the season.”