What Europe knows about Man C but the English press haven’t told you


By Tony Attwood

For years and years the media has stayed silent (at least in comparison with the media in Europe) on the subject of Manchester City, and yet now suddenly we have the Daily Mail pounding out the story with talk of “Grubby emails, an army of lawyers and a flagrant contempt for rules… When will Man City take a long, hard look at themselves and realise how deeply unattractive they’ve become?”

Somehow it seems the English media has taken its own advice and realised their abject refusal to cover stories relating to the clubs financial dealings, has made them very unattractive indeed.

As such, the media in England has implicated itself in the Manchester City scandal, and have played the lead roll in suggesting that nothing is the slightest bit wrong.

However now we have the Sun suggesting that Manchester City could be relegated or even banned.  Yet this is the newspaper who’s reporting of previous Manchester City affairs was so far beyond reality we were moved to write the headline, Why the Sun decided to support Manchester City against Uefa.    That was in March 2019.

Almost a year later 17 February 2020 we ran the piece How could Manchester City have got it so wrong?” in which we questioned their tactics when handling complaints and allegations against them.  We found the answer: they didn’t care because they had the media in their pockets.

Now of course Manchester City is a company with a turnover of getting on for 400m euros a year, and my own company is minuscule.   But we know, as I think the majority of companies know, that when a complaint is made, no matter how much you disagree with it you take it seriously.   The opening line of any response to a suggestion of something being wrong should include a phrase along the lines of “thank you very much for bringing this to my attention”.  That sort of notion doesn’t seem to be part of the Manchester City response book.

Instead, they say, “Manchester City Football Club is surprised by the issuing of these alleged breaches of the Premier League rules, particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with. The club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent Commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position.   As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”  Bit of a grammatical problem with the split infinitive, but we get the idea.

Their bullish nature must in part arise from the way in which Manchester City successfully manipulated media attention of the club last time they were in trouble.   In order to understand this better, we might go back to 16 July 2020 when we took a look at how Germany was viewing Manchester City, and there was no doubt that the view there was utterly different from that in England.

As we pointed out then, as Manchester City were accused of serious misdemeanours, their response was to denounce the accusations, their accusers, and the investigations as an “organised and clear attempt to damage the club’s reputation” which either Uefa is part of, or has been taken in by.

They got away with it (although only just, on a technicality, and there has always been the thought that the mistake that Uefa made in running out of time was so stupid that the only possible conclusions were either that Uefa as a prosecutor was not fit for purpose, or that Uefa officials had been bought – although of course we have absolutely no evidence of this at all.  The fact that the Premier League has decided to avoid Uefa and take the matter on itself indicates that the League wasn’t too impressed by Uefa’s performance either.

Because the media in England wouldn’t touch the case, English readers didn’t really get the full story on that case but in the article CAS reasons for siding with Manchester City we did use evidence and information provided by European papers to explain what was going on.

We particularly noted that the judgement from Uefa rejected the notion that Manchester City provided the evidence to show they were innocent.  Rather the CAS judgement says quite clearly Manchester City not only refused to provide evidence and witnesses but were overtly obstructive, and that there was a legitimate basis to prosecute the club.  The prosecution failed because Uefa proceeded too slowly.  Uefa argue that wasn’t their fault as the evidence that led to the prosecution arrived too late, but CAS’ rules don’t take this into account.

The CAS report does say for example that in 2012 and 2013 Etisalat did not pay £15m by way of sponsorship of Manchester City as Manchester City reported in its FFP documentation.  The money, CAS clearly states, came from the Abu Dhabi United Group.   That one bit of information is vital since it states clearly that false accounting was being used ten years ago – and because of the time bar ruling Manchester City got away with it.    

Then the court of appeal gave Manchester C another battering over its alleged breaches of the Financial Fair Play rules.  One of the judges in July 2021 said that a significant part of the Manchester City legal arguments was “entirely fanciful”.  Overall that court commentary was more critical of Manchester City than any of us who take an interest in legal proceedings can ever remember.  Sadly the media don’t remember any of it at all!

I’m not trying to cover every single brush with the law that Manchester City have had – but the fact is there have been lots of them.  Take the piece on 12 April 2022: Further allegations of Manchester City corruption emerge in Europe or indeed the Daily Telegraph story which stated  Man City ‘under investigation for payments to underage players and Roberto Mancini’ in fresh allegations

We might go back to 16 June 2022 and our story La Liga complains to Uefa alleging Manchester City and PSG breach FFP.  I might be wrong but I don’t think the UK press made too much of that.

The fact is there has been a lot going on in terms of legal cases and arguments involving Manchester City, which Europe has been reading about but England hasn’t.   This time, with it happening in England however, although we are not being given the background by most of our media outlets, we might stand a chance of seeing the whole show.


16 Replies to “What Europe knows about Man C but the English press haven’t told you”

  1. I am ‘fascinated’ by what is going on here. more then one hundred breaches.

    Now think about the logistics involved : 101 specific files, thaat means a whole team I imagine had to go through the whole case, document each, etc. etc. We are talking of a process that was obviously spread over a period of a few years, and I cannot imagine that setting up this file was done in total uttermost secrecy.

    I have no idea how the PL works, but the owners of each club must have gotten word of what was going on. And visibly City’s clout and firepower could not be weld, at least not so far. Yet City are a worldwide brand and bring revenue. So the PL seems to have decided to go ahead and make it public and are making a bet that it will ‘harm’ the PL product, its revenue and bottom line. The PL being the ‘association’ of all football clubs, that means that there is a baking to go after endless silly money and tilting the paying field with it.

    Which brings me back to the origin of all that : the famous leaked documents. Well, this means that exposure to the public at large does have an effect and forces action.

    Keeping the PMOL’s incompetence reported regularly here on UA and hopefully on other outlets maybe still is the best way to go ahead….

  2. The reason the media in the UK was not aware of the Premier League investigation into the breaking of 100 plus financial rules is that the investigation has been taking place in secret. Nobody knew of it until Monday.

  3. It was plain obvious to anyone who dug a bit deeper into the CAS report that City only got out on a technicality ie charges were dropped because the incidents were time barred, partly because Cuty kept obfuscating and delaying information to UEFA.

    I never took their titles seriously. I was banned from commenting on Guardian whenever I mentioned that City had got out on a technicality. Finally the premier league have filed,charges. Let’s see what the media makes of,it,this time around M

  4. Dear Untold Arsenal,

    I’m too lazy to research the claim made by Prestwich_Blue, but I know some of the contributors at Untold Arsenal appear to be sticklers when researching their articles, and since MCFC’s latest brush with the footballing regulators is occupying thoughts here, I thought someone might want to take a look at Prestwich_Blue’s claim, copied from the Bluemoon forum. If the claims are correct, it might make an interesting story for Untold Arsenal to investigate because I seem to remember reading many articles, from contributors to Untold Arsenal, along the lines that the entire footballing ecosystem is corrupt.

    Anyway, the rest of the post is copied from the Bluemoon forum.

    Prestwich_Blue said:

    This is brilliant. I’m writing my next missive for KOTK so have been going through the rule books to see exactly what we’ve been charged with, and it’s clear the PL have fucked it up big time. For example, in 2011/12, they’ve charged us with a breach of Rule E11. That rule in the 2011/12 Pl Handbook says “Each club shall enter the FA Cup”.

    I’ve looked at a few others and it’s a similar story. They’ve seemingly charged us against another rule which says that, except for televised games, all PL games will be played on Saturdays at 3pm.

    It’s an absolute fuck up.

  5. OT…reading the Manchester Guardian…you would have thought they would have moaned about a slow start and 2 points dropped at home against a team in a relegation battle but the coverage was insanely positive…you would have been forgiven for thinking that Man U was down to 9 men in injury time against Real Madrid.

    Reality…it’s good for the Gunners! 🙂

  6. GoingGoingGooner

    They’re not the only ones who seem to be taking an overly positive take on what is actually, in the circumstances, a very poor result.

    The Sun


    “Man Utd 2 Leeds 2: Jadon Sancho the hero off the bench as United fight from two down to snatch vital point in title race
    Premier League”

    SAN SATIONAL? Really? Now 7 points behind Arsenal having played 2 games more. At home, to a relegation threatened side, on any other planet than planet United that’s 2 points dropped and a terrible result, not a vital snatched point.

    We draw 0 – 0 at home to Newcastle who were equal top form side at the time and we get this from the Sun

    “MIKEL ARTETA suffered another night of Toon torture as Arsenal’s hopes of opening a ten-point lead at the top of the League were thwarted by Newcastle’s spoilers”

    So not a vital point for us then? Nope, it’s a night or ‘torture’ for us.

    THE MAIL has the same positive tone with “United came roaring back, though, with Marcus Rashford halving the deficit with a fine header, before Sancho got his moment, slotting the ball under the body of Illan Meslier to earn the hosts a draw.”

    We’ve won and had worse press than that.

    The man Utd love-in is well and truly back on track.

    In the great scheme of things it may not matter, but I remember how things were the last time the media were fawning over all things United to this extent.

  7. OT

    The BBC, “Anything less than a point would have been extremely harsh on Leeds”.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I despise Man U (and the result favoured us). But let’s look at the facts.

    Man U 66% possession, 24 shots, 7 on target. Leeds 34% possession, 8 shots, 2 on target.

    As I said, I hate Man U with a passion but given the blatant evidence you’d have to be a complete imbecile to suggest that Leeds losing would have been “extremely harsh”. But then again, football “journalists” know exactly what they’re talking about…….said no one ever!!

  8. Mikey

    Well at least someone isn’t fawning, but even then they cant get it right can they?

    But then again as we all know reason and balance aren’t things the media do very well are they.

  9. @ Nitram

    That was my point really. The media just make up any old story they want based upon a seemingly pre-conceived agenda.

    It’s almost like using facts is beyond them and would involve them actually having to do some thinking…………..which seems way beyond the capabilities of most football “journalists”!

  10. Mikey

    “The media just make up any old story they want based upon a seemingly pre-conceived agenda”

    Absolutely spot on.

    And I think we all know about one particular agenda they’ve had for about 20 years now, at leas!!!!

  11. Premier League rule E.11 is related to timely submission of future financial information (P&L, cash flow, balance sheets etc.). It is not related to the FA Cup.

    I think Prestwich_Blue is looking at the wrong section of the rules and regs.

  12. The UK media was aware of this PL investigation into Man. City at least as far back as July 2021. According to various reports, “City’s legal team did not want it reported that it was challenging the jurisdiction of Premier League arbitrators to investigate the case”.

    keep it quiet

  13. Tim,

    I think the confusion results from the PL moving many of the rules in section C to section E at the beginning of 2012/2013 season. I had a look in the Wayback machine and the first amendments in the statement relating to the E (and W) rules were made on February 6, so the Daily Mail article is reporting 5 days after the original corrections.

    The timestamp displayed on all versions of the statement from the PL website reads Feb 6, although their internal versioning is probably correct, but private.

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