Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City blast ‘false accusations’ as UEFA opens FPP spending probe

Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City insisted the FPP accusations against them are false and that they welcomed the opportunity to clear their name. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2019

Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City blast ‘false accusations’ as UEFA opens FPP spending probe

  • German magazine Der Spiegel alleged in November that City had set up sponsorship deals to circumvent regulations
  • A statement was released immediately by the club, in which City said they had nothing to hide

LONDON: Manchester City have slammed UEFA for opening an investigation into whether or not the Abu-Dhabi owned club broke Financial Fair Play rules, a breach that could lead to a devastating Champions League ban.
The reigning Premier League champions insisted the accusations against them are false and that they welcomed the opportunity to clear their name.
A statement was released immediately by the club following the UEFA announcement, in which City said they had nothing to hide.
“The accusation of financial irregularities is entirely false.
“Manchester City welcomes the opening of a formal UEFA investigation as an opportunity to bring to an end the speculation resulting from the illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails,” it said.
“The club’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record.”
The investigation follows allegations from the German magazine Der Spiegel in November that City had set up sponsorship deals to circumvent the regulations limiting how much money owners can put into a club.
The publication used material purportedly obtained from the whistleblowing outlet Football Leaks, which has previously exposed tax evasion methods used by some of the world's biggest football stars.
“The Investigatory Chamber of the independent UEFA Club Financial Control Body has today opened a formal investigation into Manchester City FC for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations,” the UEFA statement on Thursday.
“The investigation will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets.”
City had earlier responded to Der Spiegel’s claims by saying their allegations had been an “organized and clear” attempt to damage the club’s reputation.
A ban from UEFA competitions, including the Champions League, is a potential punishment if City are found guilty of FFP breaches.
In 2014, soon after FFP was introduced, City were fined €60 million ($67.3 million) and subjected to squad, wage and spending caps in a settlement agreed with UEFA following a previous breach of the rules.
City coach Pep Guardiola has always insisted that City would accept a ban but does not believe it is likely after discussions with the club’s UAE owners.
“We will not be banned, no. That’s what I think because I trust in my chairman, and my CEO, and what they have explained to me,” he said.
“If it happens, because UEFA decide that, we will accept it and move forward.”
City are not the only European heavyweights to be caught up in claims of breaking financial fair play rules.
French champions Paris Saint-Germain were forced to deny reports they would have to sell either Kylian Mbappe or Neymar in a bid to circumvent eventual FFP sanctions.
The Qatari-owned club splashed a combined total of more than €400 million in 2017 for Brazil star Neymar and France World Cup winner Mbappe, which raised eyebrows across the footballing world. 
Former European champions AC Milan were warned in December that they risk being excluded from European competition if they fail to “break even.”
Milan had already been banned for a year from the Europa League due to breaching FFP regulations before winning an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last year.
But UEFA said the former seven-time European champions again face suspension from continental competition in future seasons “should the club not be break-even compliant at 30 June 2021.”


Lebanon’s Nejmeh signs cooperation agreement with Arsenal

Updated 17 October 2019

Lebanon’s Nejmeh signs cooperation agreement with Arsenal

  • Flagship English club Arsenal F.C. has signed a cooperation agreement with Lebanon’s Nejmeh Sporting Club
  • Arsenal will assist Nejmeh at academy level, coaching of age-group teams and in business-related areas such as administration and marketing

LONDON: Lebanon’s Nejmeh Sporting Club has signed a cooperation agreement with Premier League side Arsenal F.C.

As part of the agreement, Arsenal will assist Nejmeh at academy level, coaching of age-group teams and in business-related areas such as administration and marketing.

Nejmeh’s President Asaad Saccal instructed club director, Jamal Al-Jurdi, to follow up on the English club’s offer of assistance.

Nejmeh Sporting Club is only one of a few Middle Eastern clubs to have received such an offer from one of England’s long-standing premier football clubs.

Nejmeh S.C. is based in the Manara district of Ras Beirut. The Beirut derby with Ansar has historically been the most anticipated game in Lebanon.