The Court of Arbitration for Sport has left UEFA to conclude its investigation into Manchester City's financial affairs.
Manchester City's appeal against UEFA's investigation into alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations has been ruled "inadmissible" by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The Premier League champions lodged proceedings with CAS in June after UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) referred their case to its adjudicatory chamber.
The CFCB's investigatory chamber opened a probe into City in March following allegations the club broke rules relating to FFP, third-party ownership and youth player recruitment in articles by German publication Der Spiegel, which drew upon documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks.
When UEFA referred their case in May, City said in a statement: "The accusation of financial irregularities remains entirely false and the CFCB IC referral ignores a comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence provided by Manchester City FC."
In a media release on Thursday, CAS explained City's appeal was not admissible because UEFA has not reached a final decision in the case.
The statement read: "The CAS Panel determined that MCFC’s appeal was inadmissible, considering that 'An appeal against the decision of a federation, association or sports-related body may be filed with CAS… if the Appellant has exhausted the legal remedies available to it prior to the appeal, in accordance with the statutes or regulations of that body.'(Article R47 of the CAS Rules).
"In the present case, the decision rendered by the CFCB IC to refer a case to the CFCB AC is not final and can therefore not be appealed to CAS directly, because the AC is competent to take any of the decisions listed in Article 27 CFCB Procedural Rules, that are described as being final."
City must now await a decision from the adjudicatory chamber, which could in theory extend to a Champions League ban. However, a report by The Athletic on Wednesday claimed UEFA will only issue the club with a fine and not suspend them from taking part in its competitions.
In August, FIFA fined City CHF 370,000 (£314,725) for breaching rules in relation to signing youth players but did not impose a transfer ban.
The Football Association found no evidence to support Der Spiegel's claim City made an illegal payment to the agent of their former winger Jadon Sancho and closed an investigation earlier this month, while the Premier League's own probe into the claims emanating from Football Leaks remains ongoing.