How the media was persuaded not to follow Man City / Uefa corruption story


By Tony Attwood

There is so much pouring out from the leaked documents concerning Uefa and Manchester City it is getting hard to follow it all.   But if we thought the complexity was why a lot of the English media has stopped running the story, we were wrong. The media have been directly complicit in the cover up of at least one significant part of the story.  Here’s how.

But, be warned, it is complicated, in that it involves several different organisations that I will have to introduce one by one.

The leaks are making it clear that Manchester City refused to heed numerous warnings given to it from multiple sources about getting involved with sponsorship from a construction company Arabtec that was accused by many international bodies of mistreating migrant workers.  Even the Premier League expressed concerns about them.

Why would a middle east construction company sponsor Manchester City?  You may well ask, but it becomes clear.

Because despite warnings, Man City’s Abu Dhabi owners pushed ahead with a £7m-a-year regional sponsorship contract.

And now at this point we have to bring in beIN Sport and Uefa, and the sponsorship arrangements within the deals going on.   

beIn Sport is part of Al Jazeera which is based in Qatar and pays billions of dollars to Uefa to broadcast the Champions League games.  beIN Sport is also owned by the same organisation as… PSG.

Such is the depth of beIN Sport’s sponsorship of Uefa that if it pulled out of the deal with Uefa (because of adverse publicity) that would leave Uefa on the edge of bankruptcy.  

So here we have beIN and PSG owned by Qatari royal family, while Manchester City are owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family – and the involvement of the notorious Arabtec.

The Arabtec story goes way back – there was a BBC report in 2009 about how awful it was in relation to the basic human rights of its workforce and the allegations have continued since.   It is said that the Manchester City director of communications wrote, “The gap between what we do and what Arabtec do is unbridgeable.”

But there has been a deal with Arabtec for years as a way of getting more middle east money into Manchester City, yet it has deliberately been kept out of the UK press.  The story has been out there and has been covered in the Russian media, suggesting that the UK media has been deliberately complicit in keeping the story out of the news.   Even the photo of the Man City chief executive and the execs of Arabtec signing the deal was not published in the UK although it was available on line.

Then we come to Human Rights Watch who started to get very concerned about what was going on, and tried to see the contract between Manchester City Council and the club in 2013 – and found their way blocked.  (You will recall that part of the original deal over handing over the Manchester City ground which was owned by the state to the club, included a deal in which the airline would make Manchester one of its hub airports.)

Moving on, for this is so much more it is becoming hard to keep up, there is a document showing that Pep Guardiola signed for Manchester City on 10 October 10 2015 while he still had eight months to run on his Bayern Munich contract.  When this story began to surface the Manchester City press officer Simon Heggie is shown in the leaks to have written to the Sunday Mirror reporter who ran the piece telling him to remove it. He then wrote to other media sources and told them to ignore the story.

And they did.  And now having been shown to be compromised throughout by following Manchester City’s instructions, the media are playing down or utterly ignoring the whole story coming out of Der Spiegel because within those stories is the revelation that many of them have been complicit in keeping the whole Arabtec and other stories out of the papers.

A corrupted club, corrupted Uefa, and a media that follows the instruction of Manchester City not to publish.  Do you wonder why the leaks are getting so little coverage in most of the media in England?

Elsewhere other emerging elements of the story take us back to the the PSG case and the buying of Neymar for €222m, with Mbappé then taken “on loan” which seemed utterly ludicrous given that the general view was that his worth was around €180m.  It was an obvious breach of FFP rules.

But in June the Club Financial Control Board of Uefa said PSG has complied  with the rules for the three successive financial years 2014/15 to 2016/17. However then the head of the Club Financial Control Body (part of Uefa) asked for it all to be looked at again.  However that seems to be uncertain. As to why Javier Tebas, the head of La Liga, however said Uefa will be very reluctant to take any action against Man C and PSG because of their financial power and position within Uefa.  Which brings us back to beIN Sport and its sponsorship power over Uefa.

It’s all getting quite interesting.  

There are a couple of papers that are still covering the story, and good for them, but for the majority, nope – they’ve been bought.

The story so far

1:  Did Uefa collude with Man City in an FFP cover up across the last four years?

2: FFP, Man City and Uefa. Some of the new allegations that are being reported.

3: Yet more Man City allegations, Etihad financial problems, La Liga puts complaint to EU




21 Replies to “How the media was persuaded not to follow Man City / Uefa corruption story”

  1. What a load of crap, all you ever do is slag City off, your envy is plain to see why dont you do do a piece on how much Arsenal fc rips its own fans off with ticketing prices that would be a good start

  2. Well yes I have heard that Tottenham are objecting to the fact that the prices for the League Cup match against them are set at £10 downstairs and £20 upstairs, but overall I am not sure that “What a load of crap” is actually a valid counter argument to the growing level of revelation and evidence in the German press that Manchester City has colluded with Uefa to break FFP rules and that a lot of the media has been complicit in covering the fact up.

  3. FFP itself was built entirely on a corrupt premise, then altered at the last minute so that City then fell foul of it a few seasons ago.

    So Pep isn’t allowed to sign a pre-contract with another team then?

    Fickle fans of clubs like yours don’t half make me laugh, all of a sudden you’re all champions of alleged global human rights issues. I notice that you didn’t mention City’s shirt sponsors being state owned and alleged human rights abuses in Abu Dhabi, is that because both Etihad and Emirates Airlines are state owned there? Also with regards to Rwanda, “Human Rights Watch says that his country, sandwiched between Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, has “tight restrictions on freedom of speech and political space”, with a knock-on effect on economic development……In December, HRW said that, over the previous seven years, Mr Kagame’s regime had “frequently detained and tortured people, beating them, asphyxiating them, using electric shocks and staging mock executions”.”
    In reality I doubt you even care, it’s just an opportunity to bash a team that is far superior to yours in every way. Please just focus on and enjoy your Thur/Sun games instead.

  4. It has at least made the Evening Standard in London.

    James Olley writes in an article headed:


    “The publication is also promising revelations regarding City’s wider conduct which surely demands more than the dismissive statements the club are offering”

    Yes it does, so can I suggest it’s down to the likes of Olley to keep pushing for it because given the fawning nature of Oliver Holts article in the Mail on Sunday this week in which despite City spending a net £600 Million in 6 years he hardly even mentioned the money, let alone the legality of it or indeed the dubious nature of its origins, he’s hardly likely to do so.

    One has to assume Holt knows these things, in which case given the above you have to think that despite what is coming out of Germany it is going to take a Siiesmic shift in the stance of a major proportion of our mainstream media to see this story really hit the back pages.

    Given the level to which our sporting media has fallen, both in quality and ethics I just cannot see that happening.

    Holt is a highly respected award winning journalist yet seems to want us to believe he cannot see what is going on.

    Whether this is because he has his head in the sand, up city’s backside or so far in the trough he just doesn’t want to see , don’t know. Either way it doesn’t bode welll if we are hoping for this to be properly investigated by the MOS at least.

  5. So the directors of Rolls Royce decide to invest say a billion pounds of their own money in a new jet engine, do you have a problem with that? No I thought not, it would generate new business, secure jobs and make the company stronger.
    City’s owner decides to invest millions in his own club and is told no, that’s illegal and so City get fined by UEFA for breaches of FFP. However, FFP breaches Competition Law which is in force across the EU, basically this means that no one can prevent a company owner or owners investing in their own company (with certain proviso’s) which is why, when Khaldoon Mubarak our chairman told UEFA that City would prefer to spend the 30 million UEFA wanted to fine us on Lawyers to fight FFP, UEFA basically backed down and watered down their “punishment”. There is no doubt that, if UEFA try to come after us and PSG again, they will have a long and very costly court case to defend which, they know, they can’t win.

  6. Load of tosh, stadium handed over to City by the state, at least get the easy facts right you state (You will recall that part of the original deal over handing over the Manchester City ground which was owned by the state to the club, included a deal in which the airline would make Manchester one of its hub airports.)

    City took over the City of Manchester Stadium WAY before Sheik Mansour took over City, and the stadium is still owned by Manchester City Council, not the state.

    Please do not prtend to be a serious journalist if you cannot even exercise due diligence.

    Even funnier you quote ‘The story has been out there and has been covered in the Russian media’ as if that authenticates your claims, MUPPET

  7. LOL more and more I think the C in Manchester City is not for City but for Cheating. Sterling anyone….;)

  8. Name calling posts are not normally published in Untold but I had to put yours in Pete as it was one of the most amusing ever. One thing you might find helpful before commenting is to look back at the previous posts in the series – no publication repeats everything it has published in the previous articles each time, as that gets rather tedious for those who are actually paying attention.

  9. Tony 🙂

    Fair comment, 🙂 however the information on the City of Manchester Stadium is still incorrect….. So maybe we are both Muppets, Stadler and Waldorf possibly lol (Muppet is not a serious name call by the way, I call it my misses all the time LOL)

    As a City fan (did you guess) I hate it when myths are perpetuated , and to be honest it does tend to get to me very easily when people make statements about city that are at best ill informed, but taking your comments on board

    Peace 🙂 lol

  10. Fair enough Pete, and far better said than many – and I don’t mean City fans – I mean fans of all clubs. We are supporters of our teams mostly by pure chance of birth or some early event – and bloggers are not, of course professional journalists with a staff behind them supposedly doing the research. I have about an hour to write each piece before having to start work, and that’s not quite as easy as it looks.
    As you very decently said, peace.

  11. Glowey – so in your world money can do what the F5ck it likes without recourse to the law?

    Sport transcends business & must allow fair opportunity to compete. Otherwise Manchester City can go & play with themselves & see how entertaining that is!

    Next we will have coke filled players flying high because you think it’s ok.

  12. Menace…”fair opportunity to compete”?

    There’s nothing fair about the gross imbalance in football finances between the haves and the have nots. The Premier League; the Champions League; the proposed European Super League….all designed to facilitate the consolidation of the existing elite’s domination and subject the remaining 95% of clubs to a future as also rans.

  13. I think you’ve touched a nerve Tony. One thing’s for sure, irrespective of FFP and whether rules or laws have or have not been broken. Man $ity are still buying their trophies and if they are proud of that, so be it.

    Let’s face it, just like Chel$ea, they weren’t very good before they started buying success so I guess their fans will be happy. As the song goes though, I do wonder, however, where were they when they were poor?!

  14. “Man $ity are still buying their trophies and if they are proud of that, so be it.”

    We love it, cheers.

  15. JimB – until we make an association of football fans to control how the game is played, financed and treated, we will never see an even playing field.

    We fans are who pay for all this corruption & we also vote for governments that allow wealthy uncaring people to buy our children’s souls. The game though beautiful to watch sometimes has been robbed of its soul.

    Wenger was one of the few people in football who understood the truth of the game but he had to accept some of the financial pressure that will be the destruction of the game we love.

  16. “that allow wealthy uncaring people to buy our children’s souls”
    “The game though beautiful to watch sometimes has been robbed of its soul.”
    “the destruction of the game we love”

    Dear God Menace, you need an extra layer of cotton wool wrapped around you.

  17. Are that the same Man Cheating fans who said that Utd could buy all the trophies they wanted because of their wealth? And then said the same about Chelsea? And then… no then they stopped saying that. Don’t know why…..

  18. “Are that the same Man Cheating fans who said that Utd could buy all the trophies they wanted because of their wealth? And then said the same about Chelsea? And then… no then they stopped saying that. Don’t know why…..”

    No they’re not Walter, as you’ve clearly made it up.

  19. “Man $ity are still buying their trophies and if they are proud of that, so be it.”
    We love it, cheers.

    Nobody in the real World expects you wouldn’t ‘love it’ just be honest about it.

    Yes Man Utd could be deemed to of ‘bought’ their trophies but it was by and large money earnt from winnings, gate money, marketing, sponsorship (legitimate), TV etc.

    Their Nett spend over the entire Ferguson reign was around £30 Million per season.

    Chelsea then started competing on the back of RA’s money and can more reasonably be accused of buying it because without that sponsorship Chelsea could well still be valued at £1, as they were, not long before RA’s arrival.

    Liverpool have been sponsored to a much lesser degree and for over a decade have been spending around £20 million Nett per season. Hardly disproportionate given thieir history and World status though is it?

    BUT Citys Nett spend is in a completely different stratasphere.

    The 6 years between season 07/08 and 11/12 Citys average Nett spend was around £70 Million per season.

    But even that pales in to insignificance when you see that between seasons 13/14 and 18/19 it’s risen to a tad shy of £100 Million Nett per season.

    This means that Man City have for 12 years maintained an average seasonal Nett spend of £85 Million

    If you cannot see that that is simply in a different World to anything any other club has ever done, including Man Utd and Chelsea, then you are fooling yourself.

    To try and lump everyone in the same box simply because they ‘spend money’ is ridiculous. It’s like lumping a pickpocket in the same catagory as an armed robber because they both steal things?

    So yes, most clubs in the PL have spent money to win trophies but NOTHING like city, and nobody has aquired it from anything like such dubious sources or with such questionable means.

    If you are happy with that thats up to you but at least be honest about it.

  20. Nitram, I fear that honest and Man Cheating, sorry City cannot be used in one sentence…

  21. It doesn’t matter how much you spend to win trophies because what you get is a team of expensive players that really only care about the money. The beautiful game is not as easy as drilling for oil in the desert.

    There will be an end to the funds or to the permission to exploit sport. When that happens only the real clubs will survive.

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