It is Manchester City's biggest result of the season; perhaps the biggest in their 140-year history. City 1 Uefa 0 (after extra-time). Had the two-year ban from European competition been upheld, it would have meant that every Premier League title, every cup won during the Abu Dhabi ownership since 2008 would have come with an asterisk because they had been achieved through dishonesty and the charge that they had inflated deals, and therefore their income, beyond their true value to cover up additional investment. That they had cheated.
It would have meant that even future triumphs could have been questioned. It would have meant a minefield with their squad - some may have wanted to leave; others may have pushed for compensation for loss of Champions League bonuses; transfer targets may have turned them down; a £200 million black hole in club finances which would have made it even harder to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) in the future and Pep Guardiola would certainly not have stayed beyond his current contract, which runs out next June.
It would have been a huge backward step; an embarrassment; an indelible stain and significant reputational damage.
Instead City will feel exonerated in taking the fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS); they will feel that the assurances they gave through chief executive Ferran Soriano to Guardiola and the players, the day after the original shock verdict, that they would be proven right, means their credibility remains wholly intact.
The greatest punishment ever imposed by Uefa for breaches of FFP has been reduced to just a €10m fine for obstructing an investigation which remains quite a serious finding against a major football club even if City always felt the whole process was unfair, prejudiced, selective and flawed and will not waver from that view.
Critics will seize on the fact that CAS made it clear the charges were either outside the five-year limit - because the original story broke in the German newspaper 'Der Spiegel' in 2018 but referred to 2012 - covered in Article 10 of Uefa's statute of limitations or were not established.
That time limit is certainly something Uefa have to look at extending in what will have to be a comprehensive examination of how it operates following another damaging defeat. Being time-barred is also a kind of basic mistake.
But City will simply feel fully vindicated given the scale of the punishment that was hanging over their heads has been wiped out and it will be interesting to see how aggressively they now act in their attempts to continue to clear their name or question Uefa's motives and actions.
Of course we await the full verdict from CAS, which will come in the next few days, but the fallout from the failure of Uefa's Club Financial Control Body investigators to have the case stick is that FFP is now in tatters in its present form.
FFP is not dead but it needs a new lease of life; a rebooting of how the rules are drafted and implemented to more fairly reflect the finances of football. Uefa responded by saying the rules still remain important but it is inconceivable that they will not have to be rewritten given CAS's verdict and its ramifications.
It is yet another damaging setback for Uefa who have now lost cases brought to CAS by Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Galatasaray and City as they have been outgunned in legal argument.
Whatever principles and morals are involved the hard fact is FFP is not working given that every serious legal challenge it faces succeeds.
The FFP rules were well-meaning and were brought in, 11 years ago, to allow clubs to compete on a financially sustainable basis when it appeared the whole of European football was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Uefa points to how a collective loss of £1.6bn in 2011 was turned into a profit of £500m just six years later, but that does not address the heart of the matter: FFP was originally conceived to reduce debt, not losses, and guard against profligate spending. City do not have any debt; Manchester United and Barcelona do - and they are both fully FFP compliant.
FFP also does not deal with such issues as clubs being involved in leveraged buy-outs or the wider, ethical accusation that it protects the elite by preventing ambitious new owners from spending huge amounts of money that they can afford to break into that group.
The accusation is, therefore, that it was a protectionist move backed by the established powers who wanted to desperately preserve the status quo.
Maybe there is something uncomfortable about sovereign wealth coming into football as has happened at City and PSG and the competitive advantage it immediately gives those clubs, but it is not illegal and if the investment is sustainable then it is hard to argue against it being allowed.
The principle of owner funding, of clubs being able to rise through the leagues to challenge at the top, should exist rather than the establishment seizing on FFP because it is a means of pulling the ladder up after them in what amounted to protectionism.
Undeniably Uefa should remain committed to good financial management and it would be hypocritical to argue otherwise when the richest sport in the world has been caught out so badly with the economic hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic (although there is also irony in Uefa temporarily relaxing the FFP rules to allow owners to put more money in to cover increased losses caused by football's shutdown).
But it does need to look at how FFP is framed as it has at the very least been undermined. The implications will run and run.
For City, though, this is a precious, vital victory. Defeat was unthinkable. If the case and the punishment against them had been upheld then they unarguably had done wrong and deserved to be expelled.
They may not have agreed with the rules but they signed up to them and rather like a driver who objects to a road being reduced from having a 30mph speed to limit to 20mph, it does not mean they can go faster than the law permits.
Their opponents will argue they have won on technicalities, and we await the details of the CAS judgment, but they will refute that while their fans believe they have been the victims of a Uefa-led vendetta.
Either way, though, they have won. They remain intact. Crucially there are no question marks over their achievements while they can plan for the future knowing that the past is not tainted. (© Daily Telegraph, London)