A FULL confession and a change in Fifa rules helped Manchester City escape a transfer ban.
City faced the same punishments that have seen Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid blocked from signing players under-18 from abroad.
As recently as March, Fifa insiders were briefing that the Etihad outfit were next in line for disciplinary action and a ban if the allegations were proven.
Chelsea were banned for two windows and fined £460,000, although the Stamford Bridge club are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to get the embargo cut in half, freeing them to buy again in January.
But instead, after admitting to breaching the regulations, City were fined £315,000.
Fifa have now confirmed that part of the reason for the financial penalty was the organisation’s new regulations, which only came into force on July 10.
Article 50 (8) of the new version of Fifa’s Disciplinary Code states that “at any time prior to the meeting set up to try the case, a party may accept responsibility and request the Fifa judicial bodies to impose a specific sanction.”
The Code’s Article 24 (3) also states: “When determining the disciplinary measure, the judicial body shall take into account all relevant factors, including any assistance of an substantial co-operation by the offender in uncovering or establishing a breach of any Fifa rule.”
Unlike the Chelsea case, where 29 breaches were found, City’s transgressions were solely over players brought into the club for trials and played in friendly games.
Chelsea, by contrast, played attacking midfielder Betrand Traore, who moved with his mother from Burkina Faso while still a schoolboy, in official youth team games.
The Stamford Bridge club were also found guilty under the 2018 version of the Disciplinary Code, which did not include the plea-bargaining clause City were able to utilise.
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In their statement accepting the punishment, City said: “The Club accepts responsibility for the breaches which arose as a result of misinterpretation of the regulations in question.
“All of the breaches occurred before December 2016 when guidance on the interpretation of the provisions was issued, since which date Manchester City has been fully compliant.
“The Club regards highly and shares FIFA’s determination to ensure the protection of minors in football and has cooperated fully with the investigation which has been transparent and evidenced based at all times.”
The decision was a boost for City who are still under three other probes, with the FA and Premier League investigating allegations following the Football Leaks document dump.
But the biggest barrier is the potential Champions League ban which Uefa are understood to be considering over alleged Financial Fair Play breaches which are still vehemently denied by the club.
This post written by Martin Lipton originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.