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Renaming Manchester City to make it sound more in keeping with its sponsors’ activities

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.

How Infantino, now head of Fifa, fixed FFP on behalf of PSG and Man City.

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

19 comments to Renaming Manchester City to make it sound more in keeping with its sponsors’ activities

  • Alphie_Izzett

    Have fun at our expense – it’s all you will get from us this season for sure.

  • Before you start going on about City take a good look at your own club Emirates Stadium then look at the Human Rights in the United Arab Emirates which your lot have emblazoned all over the place.

  • Blueknight

    Well just send all the migrant workers to amnesty and let them feed them and their families.

    All so get British aerospace to sack all their workers as most of the products they supply go to the gulf states.

    Then look at Tony Blair and George Bush think the two of them are a lot higher in the league of killers and murderers.

    Etc etc

  • I really do enjoy these comments… if you actually read the articles here you would know that this site has been and remains very critical of the Emirates airlines. I criticise them, I don’t call the stadium by its official name, I have regularly pointed out the horrors of the lack of rights of citizens in the Emirates,and do everything I can (which of course like my comments on Man City) is not that much, to make the point that I do not approve.

  • Indeed Blueknight there is a huge amount that is wrong – but for people who have a sense of humanity and decency there is still a need to protest, make hidden facts public, and do everything we can. The fact there are so many problems and so much to do is not an excuse for not doing anything one can, even if it is very little. I publicise what I think is wrong whether it is Man City or Arsenal or Fifa, or Uefa, or any other organisation. That does not mean anyone else has to agree with me, I just think these things are worth saying. If it is all nonsense I am not harming anyone.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Manchester Cheaty would do fine for me

  • Michael

    I’d say Manchester Shitty but that could be either of them.

  • Aziz

    @Tony, I read d site a lot. Have done for many years. But I haven’t come across those articles where you criticized arsenal’s business with Emirates. But you seem to always make that claim when man city fans challenge you based on your constant criticism of their Club. So, oblige me please, could you direct me to a few of those articles, maybe 5 of them will do(I’m sure you have posted over 500 criticizing man city, so 5 would be a mere 1%). Thanks in advance

  • Jammy

    To all of the people lamenting this article; are you saying that issues such as this should be swept under the carpet? This goes beyond football, we are talking about humans rights violations here. “Have fun at our expense” Oh, this just looks like a bit of fun to do, does it? Say nothing of the countless people who are exploited and put into life threatening situations just so that they can earn enough money to eat for the week, no, this is all about just trying to make Man City look bad, because that’s what’s really important here.

    “But we’ll beat you on the football pitch!” That’s great, congratulations, who cares about the unimaginably horrific conditions these people have to endure day in day out, just as long as you can win a game of sport.

  • Thank you Ben. I can’t recall everything I’ve written, because writing is what I do most of the day six days a week (and anyway my head reached full about 10 years ago) and I had totally forgotten “Does it matter if football is associated with the slave trade?” (the last of the three links). I think I could still stand by that.
    I do get things wrong and I often change my mind (although that tends to happen less when it comes to fundamental points of human rights), but I seem to have stayed on track since.
    https://untold-arsenal.com/archives/34097 – I can stand by that.

  • Aziz

    @Ben, I asked for articles from Tony criticizing arsenal, not articles where he mentions Emirates airlines in passing, or those where he tells us he’s boycotted Emirates airlines, or the ones where he even makes excuse for arsenal. I take it that after your digging, you couldn’t find even one article written by Tony about Arsenal’s “distasteful association with UAE”. Well, I thought so too

  • Menace

    Aziz – Ben has listed 3 so chew on these and note the dates.

    Remember Tony is just an Arsenal supporter with a conscience and an untold story that he tells without animosity.

  • Kamiel

    Thank God that Arsenal’s Emirates relationship is a sponsorship and nothing more. I hope that when that deal expires, there will be plenty more companies bidding to name our stadium and adorn our kits.

    Anyway, to compare that to Man City’s entire
    ownership structure (as some seem to be doing) is just ridiculous. Arsenal fans couldn’t give a toss about the company on the kit provided they paid us a lot and that the kits looked cool. Just because I am an Arsenal fan, doesn’t mean I use O2 or bought a Sega console or JVC television, so it is stupid to assume that any of us have any kind of emotional link to the brand on our tops.

    Man City, on the other hand, are instrinisically bound to the business and the country shown on their kit so there is an emotional link and their supporters damn well know it. They also know that should anything befall Mansour as a result, that the fairy tell well and truly would be over. But you would rather have bragging rights than the relief of thousands of indentured slaves. In fact the way the mass media has approached this topic (and even the topic of Emirates) versus the Visit Rwanda non-story just reeks of a pro-corporate agenda.

    As for Untold Arsenal: In my decade of using their site, I have found them to be one of the most creditable and unbiased sources of footballing truths be it about Arsenal or otherwise. Those new to the site would easily find articles criticising Arsenal’s ownership and sponsors if they bothered to look.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Agree Kamiel. LOL Arsenal having a shirt sponsor is somehow compared to being owned? And now let us for the sake of the argument go with their thinking and accept that any shirt sponsor from that part of the world is absolutely disgraceful and terrible. So what is being owned and having been gifted anything in the last 10 years or so by such a regime? It would be far worse I would think? It would be more disgraceful. It would be more terrible.
    It reminds me of the saying that exists in my language: seeing the splinter in another person his eye but not seeing the big beam in your own eye. Emirates being the splinter and Etihad being the beam.
    Like I said the other day: Kroenke might not be the perfect owner but at least he seems whiter than white compared to both the owners of Chelsea and Man Cheaty

  • Nasir

    @walter, kamiel etc. You have conveniently missed the point (maybe deliberately for Walter). The criticism of the article by man city fans is probably based on the fact that the person castigating man city’s business is a diehard supporter of a club that equally takes money from the so called evil men. Its not an issue of ownership versus sponsorship, it’s the fact that both clubs are comfortable taking money from the so called evil guys, so why should one be vilified, and for the other, silence. And kamiel, contrary to what Ben would have you believe, those few articles he highlighted, have no criticism of arsenal football club as regards their business with Emirates. I doubt city fans would have been pissed if the criticism was coming from mother Theresa. But how dare an akb call them out? That’s pot calling kettle black.

  • Well Aziz I am glad you have had your thought confirmed. Quite what you expect to find on a web site that has as its banner headline “supporting the club, the manager and the team” I don’t know. For most of the almost 11 years we’ve been publishing I’ve been criticised for supporting the manager too much. Now I seem to be criticised for not saying enough negatively about the source of our money.
    Let me try and explain very simply: the whole premise of Untold from the start was that there appeared to me to be a consistent media bias against Arsenal, which even went to the stage of inventing fantasy statistics to show Arsenal in a negative light. So I determined to set up a blog that is positive about Arsenal.
    I have been negative on occasion – most recently about the owner and the ownership model, which I have contrasted with the model set up in 1910 when the club was rescued from insolvency, that of having as many shareholders as possible while making a profit that could then be reinvested in the club.
    But even though I do feel strongly about that, I have kept such criticism as well as that of Emirates airlines to a minimum.
    So yes I could go down the line that you seem to think is important, of criticising Arsenal for the source of its money, but to do that I would have to abandon the whole basis of Untold. And indeed such a story would not be Untold because other people in other clubs have made the point quite strongly.
    Snce we still get a pretty decent number of reads each day, and since I still think there is an issue in which Arsenal are attacked all the time, no I won’t change the stance.
    I don’t like the sponsorship of Emirates airlines, I don’t like the approach of the owner, I don’t even like Emirates Airlines as an airline (and I have flown with them, but now use a totally different non-middle east airline for long distance flights) but that is not the theme of this blog. Likewise in the blog of the Arsenal History Society” I have just spent 17 months writing the story of Arsenal from 1910 to 1927 and exploring all the financial implications therein. I wrote that because I felt it was interesting and important; that is what writers do.
    You seem to me (and of course it is just my impression) to think that somehow although every other blog, website, newspaper, TV station is biased and incomplete in its reportage this one should be different and should be utterly balanced. Well, I disagree, since I think it is vital to put across the story from a different point of view.
    As so often expressed here, my view is that people who report do two things: they select the story they want to report, and the position they are going to take on that story. If you think that it is ever possible to publish a complete middle of the road story reflecting all points of view, and that doing so would make interesting reading, and that doing that would be anything more than writing for yourself, then I suspect the website UnbiasedArsenal is available I am sure you will henceforth produce such a blog or book or whatever. Whether people will read it I really couldn’t say, but it is not what I am interested in. I am interested in reporting that which is not normally reported about Arsenal, so I set up a website called Untold Arsenal. Some people like it some don’t, and really that’s about it.

  • Nasir, I certainly did not mean that the key point of my writing on this topic should be that Arsenal is “a club that equally takes money from the so called evil men.” Arsenal takes money from Emirates Airlines which I personally regret. But the main thurst of the series of articles is that Manchester City and PSG broke the Uefa rules, and then told Uefa that they were going to sue Uefa constantly until they went bust, unless Uefa let them get away with it.
    OK if you think that there is a comparison between the way Arsenal has acted and the way Manchester City has acted that is fair enough – you have your view. Mine is different. For the rest of my explanation please see my reply to Aziz.

  • Aziz

    @Tony, fair enough. Though I believe the long response was unnecessary. It would have served better if that was your reply to Gordo and the other city fans. But unfortunately your reply was that you are also critical of arsenal’s dealings with the “Evil men”, that caught my attention as a regular reader of your blog, so I thought to myself, perhaps I missed those articles, maybe Tony can point me in the right direction. Then Ben came along and pointed me to articles which were totally irrelevant to the point.
    As an arsenal fan, of course you are free to support the way you deem fit, however I think you can be bold enough to stand up for the way you do it. If you’re not gonna criticize arsenal, so be it. When the man city fans complain, tell them to go to hell.

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