London (AFP) – Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said on Monday his club hold no grudges against UEFA after the bitter battle to overturn their Champions League ban.
European football’s governing body hit City with a two-season suspension from continental competitions in February for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play rules but the ban was quashed last month by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
City had already endured a difficult relationship with UEFA even before the punishment and their coach Pep Guardiola said the Premier League side deserved an apology after the CAS verdict.
But Khaldoon wants to consign the row to history and build a stronger bond with UEFA.
“Life is too short to carry grudges,” he told City’s website.
“It is an important competition. It is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world of sports.
“It is a competition we want to win and it is a competition we have to respect in order to win. This was a challenge. It’s behind us, end of story as far as I am concerned.
“I am focused on one thing, how I can help this club compete in this competition and win it, and how to have a constructive relationship with UEFA. I think it’s the only way to go.”
City’s latest attempt to win the Champions League for the first time ended with a shock quarter-final defeat against Lyon in Lisbon earlier this month.
Guardiola’s men also finished 18 points behind champions Liverpool in the Premier League, ending their two-year reign at the top of English football.
City have responded to a frustrating season — in which their only silverware was the League Cup — by signing Netherlands defender Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and Spanish winger Ferran Torres from Valencia.
They have also been linked with Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly after their defensive struggles last season.
While the City chairman did not name any targets, he made it clear Guardiola’s overhaul is not finished yet following the close-season departures of David Silva, Leroy Sane and Claudio Bravo.
“We don’t take a one-year view, we take a three, five, 10-year view and when we look at what changes or improvements we have to make for this squad, we’re going to make them and we’ll be sensible and pragmatic about it but we will do what it takes,” Khaldoon said.
“I think you’ve seen when it comes to the two acquisitions we have made, Ake and Ferran Torres, we moved quickly.
“We knew the players clearly, these were our targets and when the opportunity came, we were able to come in very quickly and swiftly and do that business.
“There are additional players we will be bringing in and we will stick to the plan obviously within the realities of the market that we live in today.”
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