Manchester City: now Uefa are after them as well as the Premier League



By Sir Hardly Anyone

A report from France shows that a Uefa report has accused Manchester City of accepting funds from an undisclosed source, against Uefa regulations. 

This isn’t making much of a splash in the English media, perhaps because the size of the alleged scandal pales into insignificance alongside the 115 charges that the Premier League have lodged against Manchester City.   And there is also the fact that such an accusation would have to go through Fifa’s court, where the court in the past has been shown to be fairly feeble. 

Although if there were to be an appeal that does not, under the regulations, automatically mean the Court of Arbitration in Sport.   Article 54 of Uefa Disciplinary Regulations says, “The UEFA Statutes stipulate which decisions taken by the disciplinary bodies may be brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and under which conditions.”  I am not a lawyer but a read of those statutes suggests to me this might be a case that could not go to the CAS.

As we all know, Manchester City are already facing 115 charges over an alleged breach of Premier League financial rules, and it has been suggested that this latest charge is already among those alleged breaches.  If that is so it means that what has happened is that Uefa has (as has been suggested before) been asked to be kept informed of the charges against Manchester City in England, and has now seen certain elements that indicate something has been wrong in terms of Manchester City’s standing with Uefa, in relation to its declaration of finances received and the source of such money – as well as with the Premier League.

What does seem to be the case is that this is the same issue as we have heard about before – the limit on the amount of money sponsors can put into a club – thus these were two £15m donations in 2012 and 13 – a period that sits in the middle of the era investigated by the Premier League (that being 2009/10 to 2017/18) were not as they were declared to be.

The Eufa Club Financial Control Board (CFCB) Arbitration Panel report takes the view that £30m which was claimed to be from Etisalat the telecoms company, actually came from Abu Dhabi United Group and was  “disguised” as “equity financing”. ADUG, is headed by the Abu Dhabi Vice President Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which seems a bit of a coincidence.

This raises “…the obvious question…why Etisalat or ADUG should have needed financial assistance from a broker to pay off the sponsorship debts of ‘Etisalat.”   As elsewhere Manchester City are  now also accused of not handing over required documents.

The information used here came from a company making a film about Manchester City’s finances, and that has led to suggestions that the film company is being funded by a rival middle east state.  They deny this.   The Times, which first ran the story has said they now have the facts of the case independently verified.  There are also suggestions that Jaber Mohamed was also implicated in the failure of the original Uefa case when it got to the Court of Arbitration, when he failed to appear as a witness.

What’s more, ADUG have been pronounced by Der Spiegel as the organisation paying vast sums of money to Manchester City supposedly on behalf of sponsors.   Of this, the committe report says, “Arrangements were made whereby payments were made by ADUG but attributed to Etisalat…  to conceal the true purpose of the equity financing.”

These payments “totaling £30m made by Jaber Mohamed were made as equity, not sponsor payments” and it is alleged, everyone involved in the deal knew this.

The report also says the annual audited financial statements submitted to the Football Association by City “overestimated the club’s true sponsorship revenue” by including the total amount Etisalat was due to pay for the years ending May 31, 2012 and 2013.

The latest revelations also raise questions about the penalties City will receive if found guilty.   Of course the club does have to be proven guilty first, but the arrival of new lines of enquiry does show that the investigation is still ongoing with vigour, and suggests there might be yet more to be dug up.

Of course, even if Manchester City are proven guilty, and that is far from being a certainty, no one quite knows what punishment could be made.   The simple removal of titles and cups in the years in question would probably have no effect, as Manchester City could continue to claim them on the grounds that the court was wrong.  

It is difficult if not impossible to see what sort of punishment could then be dished out for falsely claiming that they won the League in 2012, and the League and League Cup in 2014.  Adjusting the league table for those years would be difficult.

However, there still could be some interesting court cases.   A 30 point deduction in 2011/12 would have left Newcastle in the Champions League: they could then sue for lost income.  A seven point deduction in 2013 would have left Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League.  A 15 point deduction in 2014 would have put Everton in the Champions League.

So will those clubs then demand Manchester City pay compensation?  If Manchester City refused to pay could they be relegated?  And if so down how many divisions?  No one knows.



22 Replies to “Manchester City: now Uefa are after them as well as the Premier League”

  1. Comment deleted
    Comment below from the editorial team.

    It is rather sad that when commenting on our post today, a number of people who are clearly Manchester City supporters have sought to hide their identities away when making rather trivial and silly comments.

    We do manage to have vigorous debates with supporters of other clubs, on this site, and often we are in complete disagreement with each other, but at least they have the decency to put their actual names and a validation email address (which of course we use to validate that this is a real person but which we don’t publish).

    It is of course not a reflection on all Manchester City supporters, but it is noticeable that on this blog at least they are tending to shy away from public ownership of what they say.

  2. I think Brian that what you say is probably true. Where there is a concerted effort at cheating, with a large amount of money behind it, it becomes impossible for other clubs that are not engaged in such activities to catch the cheaters up. Indeed it was remarkable just how close Arsenal got this season. Eventually, with the whole Premier League looking at Manchester city’s activities I suspect they will be caught out, and we can only hope the punishment they get fits the magnitude of the crimes.

  3. Perhaps MCFC could join the Saudi Pro League, where money outlay appears to be no object and they would would fit in seamlessly. There will be no scrutiny of FFP – because it does not exist in SPL.

    They will need to hurry, though, before the SPL goes the same way as the Chinese Super League. Great for the bank balances of the players seduced by the short term riches on offer.

  4. So what exactly do the charges against City mean? they put hundreds of millions of pounds INTO ENGLISH FOOTBALL broke rules by overspending ? this presumably will include the £100m to Arsenal (for players they didn’t want) £100m To Aston Villa, £70m to Everton, £50m to Liverpool , £45 m to Spurs, not to mention £700m to European clubs all of which circulated in football. Heinous crime without a doubt.

  5. Whatever helps you cope Tony. Personally I have no problems with Arsenal’s promotion. However others might argue that all of their titles since that skulduggery should be delcared null and void. I have no problems with Danny Fiszman’s diamonds. I have no problems with George Graham’s transfer dealings and have no wish to see his nine trophies removed.
    Unlike you Tony I’m not bitter

  6. I’m afraid Joe I don’t know what they wanted the money for, and as you rightly say they have vast amount of money, so it all seems rather curious. That’s why it’s worth following. Of course not every story leads anywhere interesting, but we tend to look and follow through where possible.

  7. Don if you are ever thinking of changing jobs I would suggest psychiatry or come to that astrology, are probably ones you are not ready for as your suggestion of bitterness within me is someway off the mark. Perhaps if you had read some more of the 13,000 + posts on this site you might have a deeper understanding of my personality – although even then it is generally thought by most psychologists that trying to read a person’s personality through what they write is actually very tough going. Most people who write a lot about any one subject tend to do so from various positions, in order to help the publication have a broad range of interest. The exception obviously is politics, which is why so many political publications become a little tiresome.

  8. Are you really grasping at straws this much, there is nothing illegal in the amount of money an individual invists in his business, however in an effort to keep entitiled clubs like MUFC Arsenal Liverpool at the top of the game, FFP was introduced…

    This allows clubs with MASSIVE debts to carry on trading and continually break transfer fee records, however dont let facts get in the way of a good sound bite.

    Will be really funny when City get found not guilty, no doubt all the naysayers will claim that city bribed the Courts, Judge, Jury, UEFA, FA, The King, The Dustbin Man and Ben from the Chippy……….. Bitter jealous so called journalists, concentrate on your own club

  9. It’s tiresome that supporters of other clubs come on this site to complain the point of view. Do any of them ever read or understand the banner? I think not.

  10. Pete that is an interesting view. There are 19 clubs taking on Manchester City, and going through four year legal process which they are having to fund, for something that you can dismiss in 109 words. Surely in that case the most interesting issue to write about is why when it is so clear and simple, are those 19 clubs spending so much money on something they are going to lose? I think I might explore that in a future article. It’s an interesting point.

  11. Visit Rwanda of course being beyond raproach. You Arsenal fans are not only extremely entitled your also three star hypocrites. Suppress this like you have other City posts. It speaks absolute volumes about what you think of transparency. Here’s to another season of you bottling it.

  12. Only one charge will stick and it’s the same charge as the last, failure to cooperate with a hung court. No City supporter wants a discussion with you because it would be futile. Futile because you’re all two faced, you’re all upset like every other club behind that farcical 1000 charge. Some of you claiming that you would have won the title had it not been for the, what was it all your robots call us? Cheats. Yeah you really expect us City Supporters to waste our time with those who find our club guilty until proven innocent, spare us your ignorance and arrogance. You wouldn’t have been in the title race last season had City not release Arteta from his contract and sell you Zinchenko and Jesus. Oh happy to profit from what was it you call us again? Cheats. Have a day off clowns!

  13. It was instructive to see Thomas Hitzlsperger’s Twitter reaction and response to Jordan Henderson’s move to the SPL today.

    Some of the responses from Liverpool supporters were hilarious, in an unintentional way.

    Integrity. What is it good for?

  14. Jay how can you possibly know what sort of person I am just from reading one article. That is a very worrying way of seeking to understand people, and is, I think, an approach most psychologists would say is certain to lead to conflict rather than discussion. It is of course up to you how you think and write, but for me that accusation of ignorance and arrogance is hard to justify based seemingly as it is on one article.

  15. Now that is a strange post Alan Cummings. There is a huge number of Arsenal supporters including myself as it happens, who are deeply unhappy with continuing with the “visit” promotion – the only excuse for it being that it started long before the use of that country as a depot for people attempting to flee persecution. Certainly as a season ticket holder I have expressed my unhappiness about it to the club, and indeed had a fulsome reply from them – which acknowledged the depth of feeling over the issue. I’ve not made a dent in Arsenal’s view that the contract must be continued to its end, but I and many others have tried to put across our point of view. What evidence do you have for your accusation of hypocricy. And come to that, does the bad dead of one, remove liability for the bad dead of another?

  16. Tony,

    I admire your stamina in attempting to engage in rational exchanges with a number of contributors, but it is probably a waste of your time and effort.

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