By Sir Hardly Anyone
When a football story breaks there are often two factors that indicates whether there is likely to be any substance to it or not.
First, does the story have any details or is it general. The scandal surrounding the building of the stadia in Qatar for the World Cup for example has resulted in details of the number of deaths, and of individuals affected by the slave labour allegations coming from a variety of sources etc. That’s the evidence. But the rebuttals are generalised and so the stories gain traction.
Now we have an attack on the integrity of Manchester City, and it comes just days after the Court of Appeal were more critical of the Man C legal team than I have ever known them to be in such a case. Judges in the Court can say what they like of course, but normally they don’t go that far.
But when the Europeans get going it tends to be because there is something worth investigating – we think of the court cases involving the head of Fifa and the head of the Swiss federal judicial system for example. (Links to some of the articles on that at the foot of this piece).
In essence the Mail has claimed, citing some supporting evidence, that since 2010/11 Manchester City’s financial team have repeatedly manipulated their accounts to escape Uefa punishment.
As the Mail’s headline says, “Fresh evidence appears to show Premier League champions had millions funnelled into the club by Abu Dhabi to help inflate their income.”
The difference between the money owing and the money actually paid was then picked up by other agencies suggesting that regulations were being side-lined. And if the money was invoiced to company A but paid by company or individual B that would be a fairly serious breach of the rules.
Now we know that the Court of Arbitration in Sport fined Manchester City €10m in the last round of the battles, so in one sense Manchester City are already under something of a cloud. Not a very big cloud because €10m isn’t that much for them, but still a cloud. And that is not necessarily a good place to start from.
We also know from the comments made by the judges in the current case in the Court of Appeal, the courts are getting rather annoyed with Manchester City’s delaying tactics – tactics which helped them win against Uefa as the CAS rules Uefa was out of time.
But curiously, the League don’t want Manchester City to be found guilty because it is going to make them look like an absolute load of plonkers for not getting their case right the first time round. But they also know that if they don’t proceed eventually the rest of the larger clubs in the PL will lose patience with the Premier League management committee itself.
Which is not what the League wants in the immediate aftermath of the setting up of Super League.
In short, none of this is straightforward. The English courts are getting annoyed with deliberate delaying tactics, Uefa has been made to look foolish by running a case that was out of time and wants to fight back, and the rest of the League is getting angry that Manchester City might be getting around the rules in ways that they can’t.
That is the sort of legal battle that usually ends in a godawful mess.
The corruption files
- Platini and Blatter now prosecuted for fraud, but don’t tell the English
- Could Fifa really be stopped? Is the unthinkable now actually possible?
- Fifa, “Guilty As Charged.” This MUST be the turning point for Fifa and CAS
- IFAB vs PGMO vs Fifa… who is the most secret (and damaging) of them all?
- Another football scandal looms as law officers raid the German FA’s offices
- Infantino is one step closer to the edge of the cliff, but UK media is still silent
- Fifa in chaos as Infantino’s illegal meetings revealed and chief Swiss lawman resigns
- Swiss prosecutors demand prison for beIN & PSG president and ex-Fifa No 2.
- What Europe knows about Man C but the English press haven’t told you
- Arsenal v Manchester City Women’s Continental League Cup semi-final – match preview
- How Man City’s problems began to arise…. nine years ago
- The media pile into Manchester City, but where have they been all this time?
- Manchester City accused of over 100 breaches of Premier League financial rules