UEFA warns clubs after Man City’s financial leaks

By AP - AP : Wednesday, November 14th 2018 at 12:25 GMT +3 | Football
Manchester City players celebrate after scoring against Manchester United in the derby on Sunday [Courtesy]

Previously concluded Financial Fair Play cases could be reopened, Uefa warned on Monday as evidence grows of Manchester City’s attempts to disguise its source of income and spending.

The Uefa statement on the prospect of the financial compliance system being “abused” by teams comes after internal correspondence exposing City’s alleged deception was published by European media outlets.

The reigning English Premier League champion and current leader has not provided a defence or disputed the authenticity of the information from leaked emails which reveal elaborate attempts over several years to try to avoid breaching the rules designed to curb overspending on player costs.

City, which has been owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour for a decade, has already been punished for violating FFP after reaching a settlement agreement with Uefa in 2014 that saw it fined rather than banned from the Champions League.

Having spent more than a week declining to comment on the information in the “Football Leaks” documents, Uefa has issued a response to questions about City that raises the prospect of new sanctions.

Man City boss Pep Guardiola [Courtesy]

“Should new information suggest that previously concluded cases have been abused, those cases may be capable of being re-opened as determined on a case by case basis,” Uefa said. “This approach is applied universally to all clubs that apply for a Uefa licence and participate in European club competitions.”

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The agreement with Uefa eventually saw City forfeit only 20 million euros in Champions League prize money.

UEFA has not said how aware it was in 2014 of City’s plans to hide spending of more recent schemes, which have been reported in a five-part series by German magazine Der Spiegel.

“FFP is a framework which clubs that wish to play in Uefa competitions agree to abide by,” the organiser of the Champions League and Europa League said in a statement.

“It relies on the cooperation of clubs to declare a complete and genuine financial position. While Uefa can test the information it receives, it relies on that information being fair and accurate reflections of a club’s finances.”

The title sponsor of City’s stadium, training campus and jersey backer is Etihad Airways, the state-owned airline from Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Mansour is a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.