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.”


IPL gets government clearance for UAE edition

Updated 10 August 2020

IPL gets government clearance for UAE edition

  • Due to the rising coronavirus cases in India, the 13th edition of the Twenty20 tournament is scheduled to take place between Sept. 19 and Nov. 10 in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai
  • The world’s richest cricket league will be played outside India for the third time after being held in South Africa in 2009 and the UAE in 2014 because it clashed with the national elections

NEW DELHI: The Indian Premier League has received final clearance from the country’s government to host this year’s edition in the United Arab Emirates, its chairman told AFP on Monday.
Due to the rising coronavirus cases in India, the 13th edition of the Twenty20 tournament is scheduled to take place between September 19 and November 10 in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed this month that the league will be shifted outside its home country, and IPL chief Brijesh Patel said he had received the official confirmation from the government.
The world’s richest cricket league will be played outside India for the third time after being held in South Africa in 2009 and the UAE in 2014 because it clashed with the national elections.
IPL is searching for a new lead sponsor after Chinese phone maker Vivo pulled out of this edition amid a backlash after a deadly border clash between the two countries in June.
The tournament normally starts in March, but was repeatedly postponed this year because of the pandemic.
India currently has over two million coronavirus cases, the world’s third highest figure.