The Manchester City statement said it all.
Today he won the case against UEFA at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), canceling a two-year ban in the Champions League.
But the work of his lawyers is far from finished.
“While Manchester City and its legal advisors have yet to review the entire Arbitration Court ruling for Sport, the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the Club’s position and the body of evidence it has been able to submit, “said the statement.
An answer that starts with the word “while” is usually a good indicator that history still has a long way to go.
Leafing through the trial, City’s lawyers are likely to have a black marker on hand.
Any attorney worthy of their salary knows that he must be prepared to support the case of drafting any information he believes is not in the client’s interest.
“The general rule of most sports disputes [that] go to arbitration [is that] these legal proceedings are confidential. The only time confidentiality is lifted is if the parties agree or involve a governing body, “explains sports lawyer David Seligman of Brandsmiths.
Seligman suggests that the period between the announcement of the verdict and the publication of the reasons, due “in a few days”, will be used to agree on what is not included.
“I guess the parties may have to draw up elements and agree on those reductions between them,” he adds.
“[There might be] there may be confidential financial information that City does not want to disclose or that is incorrect [also] be things that UEFA doesn’t want to divulge. “
Which makes you think, in addition to those within the two organizations and their law firms, the full details of the case may remain a mystery.
The “body of irrefutable evidence?”
I ask Seligman if there is a possibility that the “full body of irrefutable evidence” that Manchester City has presented, at UEFA and then at CAS, may never see the light of day.
The accusations in this case go back to leaked e-mail chains, the validity of which the club has not publicly contested.
He complained that they were used “out of context”, which presumably means that some of the “irrefutable evidence” will have contextualized them.
How much of this is revealed is anyone’s guess.
“If the award contains things that people don’t really need to know and will be unfair, especially for the successful party, you might see [that] part of the award has been drawn up, “Seligman continues.
“Referees have the last word, and I imagine for transparency, they will want to share as much as possible.”
The sports lawyer claims to have worked on cases where large sections have been drawn up based on information that is not relevant to “points of law or decision”.
However, he thinks that the judgment, regardless of the editorial staff, will be “illuminating”.
“I think it will show a lot of stuff, I don’t think it will show that Man City is perfectly clean.”
“The wording of the press release said:” insufficient conclusive evidence “, does not say that there was” no evidence “”, he adds.
As Seligman points out, public relations have played an important role in this case.
The February city statement following UEFA’s initial ruling, which appealed to CAS, even complained of the “constant loss[s]”To the media.
“Much of this has to do with public relations, I think that’s why [UEFA] chased City so harshly, particularly after City had been fined previously. “
The club’s attorneys, after winning a courtroom victory, will now have the task of gaining an advantage in a much more nuanced field: the court of public opinion.
Regardless of what passes, the mystery of what’s behind the deleted sections will be a tempting point of speculation.