Manchester City set to face investigation over FFP misconduct
UEFA has launched an official investigation into Manchester City's alleged misconduct regarding FFP rules. Recent revelations from via leaked e-mails exposed by German weekly magazine Der Spiegel has brought into light the Abu Dhabi owned clubs apparent foul play.
Pep Guardiola has created what is arguably one of the best sides in Europe at the moment but his club faces a greater threat off the field. City's renaissance began in 2008 when Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed took over the club from Thaksin Shinawatra as the owner of the club. Since then over a $1 billion has been pumped into building this footballing force.
UEFA have released the following statement regarding the entire matter but no timeline of the process mentioned, and there will be no further comments until the investigation is complete:
“The investigatory chamber of the independent Uefa club financial control body has today opened a formal investigation into Manchester City FC for potential breaches of financial fair play regulations, The investigation will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets."
City have allegedly gone to great lengths to avoid being caught by the law. The club have reportedly inflated sponsorship contracts to hide the cash injections from the owner. Etihad Airways, who negotiated a huge 400M deal with the club back in 2011 is under scrutiny for an inflated deal as well.
Backdating sponsorship contracts including a fee for winning the FA cup before the match took place are seen in the cooked up records . In a $15 million deal with sponsor Aabar, apparently $3 million was paid by them as a part of the deal and the rest would be paid by Sheikh Mansour through third party companies. If this is proven to be true, it could be a direct violation of FFP.
In simple terms, Financial Fair Play states that any club can only spend on their transfers and wages provided they earn that amount through commerce and prize money. This is to ensure clubs don't look towards rich owners and illegal investments to achieve quick success.
In reply to this, reigning Premier League champions City have released an official statement addressing the allegations leveled at them:
"Manchester City welcomes the opening of a formal UEFA investigation as an opportunity to bring to an end the speculation resulting from the illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails. The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false. The Club’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record."
Although the main focus for Guardiola's men will be to win the coveted Champions League trophy, if any of this is proven to be true, City could be looking at a potential ban from the competition. We will see them in action against FC Schalke 04 in their next Champions League game at home with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over them.