by Tony Attwood
According to Amnesty International, Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi owners are “brazenly trying to “sportswash” their country’s “deeply tarnished image” by pouring money into the Premier League club.”
And indeed given the level of support that Manchester City has, their success in the league, and the utter reluctance or perhaps inability of any organisation to challenge them, it looks like they have been stunningly successful. So far at least.
Amnesty point out that Arabtec, a firm that is central to the sponsorship arrangements, has been repeatedly criticised by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch because of the way it treats its migrant workers.
Now it was thought at one time that involving Manchester City with a company as awful (in human rights terms) as Arabtec would damage Manchester City’s image, but in fact the opposite has happened. TV stations, radio stations, newspapers – they all continue to report the affairs of Manchester City, without saying that they are sponsored by a company primarily known in the west for its appalling human rights violations.
Which raises the question: what little bit extra can we do to bring home the message that the club is funded by those who deliberately mistreat migrant workers?
No one is really answering that question; all we get back are comments from a few (and it is only a few I will admit that) Manchester City fans that if this were Arsenal we’d be happy to accept the money.
And yes I am sure many supporters would be. But not me. Now I don’t impose my views on other writers on Untold – so anyone can come on and argue to the contrary, but I am personally unhappy about having the stadium called what it is. For years we tried to make the point by calling it the Ems. Now we just call it Arsenal Stadium, which is what Uefa calls it.
So I guess we have to invent a silly name for Manchester City, not because it will make its owners and supporters think again – I doubt anything will do that – but rather just to remind people whose minds are open on the issue, what is going on. Manchester Torture seems about right, but I am open to suggestions. Manchester HRV (human rights violations). Manchester MFA (money from anywhere).
Der Spiegel have even insisted that Manchester Torture’s management team ignored its own PR team about the damage the deal with Arabtec could do. It doesn’t seem to have done to do it much harm yet.
Amnesty recently said, “The UAE’s enormous investment in Manchester City is one of football’s most brazen attempts to ‘sportswash’ a country’s deeply tarnished image through the glamour of the game. As a growing number of Manchester City fans will be aware, the success of the club has involved a close relationship with a country that relies on exploited migrant labour and locks up peaceful critics and human rights defenders.”
We have also had the allegation now that on signing for Manchester Torture Roberto Mancini not only agreed a huge salary, but also a secondary salary with Al Jazira, which is of course controlled by Manchester Torture’s owners.
Manchester Torture have stated that the reports that we have been using over the past week or two relates to “hacked and stolen” material and are part of a “clear and organised” attempt to smear the club.
Well, yes. That’s true. Because the allegations made appear to be true. And although Untold is fairly chaotic we’re organised enough to publish stuff. Sometimes even on the right day.
Few managers or directors of other clubs have said anything although Jürgen Klopp said Uefa must take action against any club that has flouted the rules of FFP.
Meanwhile the Danish newspaper Politiken has published what it says are details of a “legally-binding third-party player-ownership deal” the aim of which is to allow Manchester Torture to get the best African players from a Danish feeder club. In 2016 the president of FC Nordsjaelland, is said by the paper to have committed his club to supplying the best talent it finds via the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana. The club has denied any wrongdoing.
The story continues by saying that Mohammed Kudus will now transfer to City for free.
So what next? Nick Hall, a football tax expert has said, “I would be very surprised if the HMRC (the UK tax and revenues investigation and collection centre) wasn’t now looking at the Football Leaks. Some of the payments are very convoluted at best.”
It is also worth noting that HMRC last month launched started a new investigation into tax avoidance in football, and is said to be looking at finances covering 171 footballers, 44 clubs and 31 agents.” I wonder who.
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