Manchester City has been accused of cheating after allegations that their owner has paid large parts of inflated sponsor contracts.
According to a report by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, allegedly based on more hacked documents from the Football Leaks whistleblowers, city owner Sheik Mansour paid substantial parts of so-called deals with club sponsors to comply with the UEFA Financial Fair Play program (FFP). regulations.
In one agreement with Etihad Airways it is claimed that as much as £ 59.5 million out of £ 67.5 million was financed mainly by Mansour. The disclosures may result in sanctions against UEFA and the Premier League. Neither comment on Monday night and there is concern about the method by which the documents were obtained.
Sheik Mansour (middle) is accused of picking up the tab for inflated sponsorship contracts
Leaked e-mails claim that Manchester City had to earn £ 9.9 million after having fired Roberto Mancini
City head Simon Pearce (right) reportedly wrote in a leaked e-mail: "We can do what we want & # 39;
WHAT IS FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY?
Financial Fair Play was approved by UEFA in 2010 and was brought into play for the first time in 2011. It ensures that clubs that have qualified for UEFA matches must prove that they have no overdue debts throughout the season against other clubs, their players and tax authorities.
In short, clubs can spend up to € 5 million (£ 3.9 million) more than they earn per assessment period, although total losses of £ 35 million are allowed for clubs like City with the richest owners.
Reviews are now made over a period of three years. In 2014-2015, the losses were still limited to £ 35 million. In 2015-2016 the limit has fallen to £ 25.5 million. The pattern was then repeated in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Money spent on stadiums, training facilities, youth development or community projects is exempt, but clubs must balance football-related expenses, such as transfers and wages, with television and ticket revenues.
All this is controlled by The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), which was established by UEFA.
If they conclude that the e-mails were illegally obtained, City – which was sanctioned in 2014 due to a violation of the FFP rules – can not take any further action.
City repeated on Monday night that they would not comment on material that would have been hacked or stolen by City Football Group and staff of Man City and related persons.
But with even more revelations that will be published as this week progresses, UEFA and the Premier League are expected to follow the situation, with insiders suggesting that sanctions may still follow.
Although UEFA could impose a penalty that was as severe as a ban on the Champions League, a transfer ban seems more likely to act as the governing body of European football.
The Premier League is likely to follow UEFA by at least examining whether the English champions are surpassing their sponsorship rules that require agreements to be set at a fair market value & # 39 ;.
& # 39; At least this is shameful for City & # 39 ;, said a senior source on Monday night. & # 39; Certainly, questions must be asked. & # 39;
Doubts about the authenticity of the deals with companies located in Sheik's Abu Dhabi homeland have been around for a long time, and the e-mails that Der Spiegel claims to have in their possession certainly resemble those concerns. to give.
One of the emails from 2010, reportedly from board member Simon Pearce, who communicates with bosses, reportedly claims a deal of £ 15 million with partner Aabar.
& # 39; As we have discussed, the annual direct commitment to Aabar is £ 3 million, & # 39; he reportedly wrote. & # 39; The remaining £ 12 million will come from alternative sources offered by His Highness. & # 39;
City won the competition in 2012, but new claims seem to shed light on the financial affairs of the club
Sheik Mansour (middle) would have earned £ 12 million from Aabar's annual sponsorship of £ 15 million
Der Spiegel says that the sentence confirms accusations that Mansour personally paid part of the sponsorship money.
In another message, City Chief Financial Officer Jorge Chumillas wrote that the club was faced with a deficit of £ 9.9 million to meet FFP due to the termination of the contract of manager Roberto Mancini.
The Italian was fired in 2013, a year to the day after winning the Premier League title. His gigantic pay-off meant even more spending on City books that had to be covered by income according to the UEFA rules.
He adds: "I think the only remaining solution would be an extra amount of AD (Abu Dhabi) sponsor earnings that cover this gap. & # 39;
According to the report, Chumillas says that Etihad sponsors pay an additional £ 1.5 million, Aabar £ 500,000 and the tourist authority £ 5.5 million.
In a further reported e-mail exchange it is alleged that Chumillas asks Pearce if they can change the date of payment of Abu Dhabi's sponsors. Pearce replies: & # 39; Of course we can do what we want. & # 39;
Der Spiegel further claims that City & # 39; s financial reports are a web of lies & # 39; to be. They say that Pearce reportedly writes in another email that the sponsor of stadium and jersey Etihad & # 39; s & # 39; s direct contribution remains at a constant £ 8 million & # 39 ;, which does not match the actual commitment of £ 35 million.
The publication claims that the deal was worth £ 67.5 million annually, but suppose Chumillas would have written to Pearce: "Please note that £ 8 out of £ 67.5 million would have to be financed directly by Etihad and 59.5 million. by ADUG. " ADUG stands for the Abu Dhabi United Group, City's property car.
Reportedly, £ 127.5 million has been used to supplement the Abu Dhabi cooperation agreements by May 2012
The report ends with the claim that the city's internal calculations have noted that in May 2012, when the club won the Premier League, a total of £ 127.5 million had been used to supplement the Abu Dhabi partnership agreements.
It also said that Abu Dhabi's total investment in the club in the four years it took to achieve that first Premier League title in 2012 was more than £ 1 billion.
UEFA said: & # 39; We can not comment on specific cases due to confidentiality obligations that UEFA must respect. & # 39;
A statement from Etihad said: & # 39; The airline's financial obligations, associated with the club's partnership and the broader City Football Group, are and remain the sole responsibility and liability of Etihad Airways. & # 39; Aabar and the Abu Dhabi tourism company were not available for comment.