Further allegations of Manchester City corruption emerge in Europe

By Tony Attwood

One of the great problems of football and the way it is covered by the media is that the notion that underneath it all there is wholesale rule-breaking, not to say corruption, is either not considered at all, or is considered just in passing, and not with any serious thought.  (One of the others is that football has no independent regulator – it regulates itself)

Instead, the excitement of the sport, and the reporting on the ineptitude of certain clubs in the transfer market has taken over.  Which is a recipe for those running football, to get away with anything.

It is a bit like having a totally corrupt police force.  Anyone suggesting the nation has a corrupt police force knows as soon as he or she suggests this is the case that person will find him/herself arrested on falsified charges backed up with falsified evidence.

Fifa and Infantino provide obvious examples in football, such that even the English media that were once reporting the corruption have now given up, so that nothing interferes with England’s run in the world cup nor their coverage.   If a match takes place in which bad refereeing is seen to lead to England’s exit there will of course be dark mutterings about “foreign referees” not understanding the rules, but no one will contemplate the possibility of something deeper than this being wrong.  As for PGMO, that as we know, is a no-go area for the English media.

So one must say “hats off” to the Daily Telegraph for even daring to run the headline Man City ‘under investigation for payments to underage players and Roberto Mancini’ in fresh allegations

Of course, at this stage Manchester City are as innocent as they were in 2014 when they were banned from the Champions League for two years in 2020.  That ruling was overturned on appeal, which in turn led to allegations concerning the operation of the CAS.  As a result of that, there have been a series of suggestions that the CAS is corrupt, and a significant movement to reform it.

There are also still investigations going on in the Premier League, according to Der Spiegel  – into the legal dispute between Manchester City and the Premier League.  Investigations which again the English media seem unwilling to cover.  Even though within the Man City case 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.

Uefa has rattled its sabre just a bit by changing the limit on salary expenditure, transfers and agents’ fees to “70 per cent of a club’s revenue”.

Now, among the multiple allegations made against Manchester City by Der Spiegel is one that says, “According to the documents, the Sheikh’s company agreed to pay a €360,000 bill owed to Brahim’s youth club through an intermediary agency.”

What makes the new allegations somewhat uncomfortable for Manchester City (but probably no more than that, because there seems in football a general view that they can and will get away with anything) is that in the last case even CAS said that, as the Telegraph puts it, “the club  should be ‘severely reproached’ for showing ‘blatant disregard’ to financial fair play investigators. The Uefa charges were also not ‘frivolous’, and there was a “legitimate basis to prosecute” the club for “overstating sponsorship deals.”

The new allegation is that in the previous case Manchester City instructed the sponsor how much it had to pay to cover certain club requirements, and that money was being given from another source (suspected to be the owner) to the sponsor (Etihad) so that the sponsor could be seen to be giving that money to Manchester City.

Also resurfacing at this time is the suggestion that Roberto Mancini (now the manager of Italy) was involved in making payments to underage players, using money provided by Al Jazira Sports and Cultural Club.  Al Jazira have since responded with articles such as “How a convicted criminal can buy a famous English football club” – which itself makes allegations of money laundering.

And this is the big problem at the heart of all this.  Corruption appears to be so endemic that anyone accused is normally able to point at what someone else has done.

Of course, the Premier League has been investigating all this since December 2018 – and indeed is still investigating.  And as the High Court just last year said, “It is surprising, and a matter of legitimate public concern, that so little progress has been made after two and a half years.”  

Make that now “three and a half years”.   And add in a new raft of allegations.

And how come no one makes a bigger fuss?  First, because football provides the media with free news stories on which the media depends, and anyone publishing anything on this and related affairs is liable to lose access to clubs and players.  And second because if the public start to believe that there is something rotten in heart of football, they might stop listening to, watching and reading the media that keeps telling them everything is fine and above board.

Thus as with reports on odd goings on in PGMO, the media doesn’t want to know.  Except, seemingly, Der Spiegel and the Telegraph.


2 Replies to “Further allegations of Manchester City corruption emerge in Europe”

  1. Listening to Glenn Hoddle complaining about the fact that players haven’t dived is a perfect demonstration of the media support for cheating in the world of professional football. I wonder what else these people support?

  2. Reece James caught miles out of position for Real Madrid’s second goal. No mention of this by the media agenda-setters. If that was an Arsenal defender…….

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