Man City faces reper­cus­sions for mis­lead­ing UEFA on fi­nances

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

EURO­PEAN soc­cer’s lead­er­ship has an ini­tial con­clu­sion on leaked Manch­ester City cor­re­spon­dence: The club has been mis­lead­ing UEFA over its fi­nances.

With the power to ban clubs from the Cham­pi­ons League, the con­se­quences from UEFA could be se­vere for the Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons.

UEFA dis­cov­ered from read­ing in­ter­nal emails from City, which were pub­lished by Ger­man me­dia out­let Der Spiegel last month, the ex­tent of schemes by the club to al­legedly cover up the true source of in­come in a bid to com­ply with Fi­nan­cial Fair Play reg­u­la­tions, a per­son with di­rect knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion told The As­so­ci­ated Press. The per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion pub­licly while UEFA con­ducts a re­view of the City case.

City has been trans­formed into an English soc­cer power in the decade since be­ing bought by Sheikh Man­sour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a deputy prime min­is­ter of the United Arab Emi­rates and a mem­ber of Abu Dhabi’s royal fam­ily, win­ning the Pre­mier League three times since 2012. But un­fet­tered spend­ing on play­ers has been re­stricted by Euro­pean soc­cer’s gov­ern­ing body — re­gard­less of the own­ers’ wealth.

City has al­ready been pun­ished by UEFA for vi­o­lat­ing FFP, strik­ing an agree­ment in 2014 that saw the team fined rather than banned from the Cham­pi­ons League for in­flated spon­sor­ship deals with com­pa­nies linked to the club or its own­er­ship.

UEFA pub­licly said last month that ev­i­dence from “Foot­ball Leaks” could lead to past cases be­ing re-opened. The per­son with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion said it was more fea­si­ble to use the leaks to re-as­sess the can­dor of club ex­ec­u­tives and as a ba­sis to judge City’s com­pli­ance with FFP in the cur­rent three-year as­sess­ment pe­riod.

That cov­ers 2015 when Der Spiegel said emails were be­ing sent in­ter­nally at City show­ing the ma­nip­u­la­tion of spon­sor­ship revue from Eti­had Airways, the state-owned air­line from Abu Dhabi, which is the nam­ing rights spon­sor of City’s sta­dium and train­ing cam­pus as well as ap­pear­ing on jer­seys. The spon­sor­ship was said to gen­er­ate 67.5 mil­lion pounds (about $85 mil­lion) an­nu­ally for City. But City’s hold­ing com­pany — the state-backed Abu Dhabi United Group — chan­neled 59.9 mil­lion pounds back to Eti­had, ac­cord­ing to Jorge Chu­mil­las, the club’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, in an in­ter­nal email to club di­rec­tor Si­mon Pearce.

Given the fresh in­sight into City’s fi­nan­cial deal­ings, UEFA Pres­i­dent Alek­sander Ce­ferin has said there was a “pub­lic in­ter­est” in the cor­re­spon­dence be­ing leaked, while ques­tion­ing how it was ob­tained.

“We are as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion. We have an in­de­pen­dent body work­ing on it,” Ce­ferin said Mon­day. “Very soon you will have the an­swers on what will hap­pen in this con­crete case.”

Photo: AP

Man City play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter win­ning the English Pre­mier League soc­cer match be­tween Wat­ford and Man City in Wat­ford, Eng­land on Tues­day.

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