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UEFA Opens Investigation Into Man City For FFP Violations (1 Viewer)

Geezer

Geezer

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Only a matter of time wasn't it?

Manchester City are being investigated by Uefa for alleged financial fair play violations.

Uefa said the investigation "will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets".

German newspaper Der Spiegel has published a series of claims, based on leaked documents, that Premier League champions City have violated FFP rules.

City said: "The accusation of financial irregularities is entirely false."

The club added: "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 club's published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record."

Uefa previously found City had breached FFP rules in 2014.

The two parties reached a settlement, with City paying a £49m fine - £32m of which was suspended - while their Champions League squad was reduced for the 2014-15 season.
 
Best

Best

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This Times article gives details of the charges City face.

How Football Leaks computer hacker Rui Pinto left Manchester City’s reputation in balance

Martyn Ziegler traces series of leaks that have prompted four governing bodies to investigate

The allegations stemming from the Football Leaks data have been numerous and varied but the core question is this: have Manchester City been riding roughshod over football’s rules and regulations in their bid for global dominance?

The announcement of the opening of a formal investigation by Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) takes that question to another level because it means that City are now in danger of facing a punishment that could affect their participation in a Champions League campaign.

Uefa is one of four governing bodies of football, including the FA, Fifa and the Premier League, investigating City over issues connected to the leaks.

Over the past three months, and usually late on a Friday afternoon, a group of European newspapers and websites have published allegations stemming from the Football Leaks cache. Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are among the clubs who have had claims made about their conduct but it is Manchester City who have borne the brunt of the allegations.

From the alleged manipulation of sponsorship income to the acquisition of youth players, from third-party ownership to questionable accounting over players’ image rights — City are under scrutiny in all those areas.

Until yesterday’s denial of financial irregularities, the club had stuck rigidly to their position of refusing to comment on any of the Football Leaks allegations beyond saying: “We will not be providing any comment on out-of-context materials purported to have been hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people. The attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear.”

Uefa’s investigation is the one that potentially poses the greatest threat to City: a possible ban from European competition.

The main allegation centres on £59.5 million of sponsorship money that was supposed to come from Etihad Airways in 2015 but, according to internal club emails, it was said to have been paid instead by the club’s owners, Abu Dhabi United Group.

One email revealed by the leaks reported a City executive saying, “We can do what we want”, when asked whether they could change the date of a sponsorship payment.

That could be a breach of Uefa’s financial fair play (FFP) rules, and City executives and the club could also face disciplinary action over the allegations if they are deemed to have deliberately misled Uefa.

The Premier League investigation also concerns the sponsorship income.

Meanwhile, legal sources in France have told The Times that Uefa has asked the French financial prosecutor to share the 12 million files that it has obtained from Rui Pinto, the Portuguese 30-year-old who is at the centre of the Football Leaks cache. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office would not confirm whether the request would be granted.

Other allegations concerning Manchester City include that in 2013 they set up a secret scheme named “Project Longbow” to beat Uefa’s FFP rules. The scheme took up to £40 million off the wage bill by “selling” players’ image rights to another company, but it is alleged the company then paid the players for marketing appearances and were reimbursed by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

Last week it was alleged that City might have misled the FA over the ownership of a player, the Argentine Bruno Zuculini, whom the club signed in 2014. The player, who was then 21, was still part-owned by a company, MPI, but the club did not disclose that MPI was funded by an offshore entity called Mangrove, with which Ferran Soriano, the City chief executive, had previously been connected.

Reports from Football Leaks have also revealed that City could face a one-year transfer ban from Fifa over the signing of eight players under the age of 18 from overseas.

On the domestic front, the FA is looking into the signing of the Borussia Dortmund and England player Jadon Sancho as a 14-year-old from Watford, with allegations of a payment to an agent and a discussion over a possible payment to his family.

City are in the position of having, in the royal family of Abu Dhabi, an owner with almost limitless wealth. The problem has been that Uefa’s rules put a limit on how much they are allowed to spend.

With the club having been punished by Uefa in 2014 for spending too much and then promising to abide by the rules, this time the stakes are much higher.

The allegations

Manipulated sponsorship income

Leaked documents suggested income that was supposed to come from Abu Dhabi-based sponsors was in effect paid directly by the owners, in contravention of FFP rules.

Third-party ownership rules may have been breached
City are alleged not to have disclosed an involvement with a fund that owned economic rights of players, including one they signed.

Manipulated image-rights payments
A scheme called “Project Longbow” sold players’ image rights to another company, which was then reimbursed by the Abu Dhabi United Group. It meant the image rights were taken off the salary bill.

City paid the agent of Jadon Sancho £200,000 over his move from Watford when Sancho was 14.

What City say
● Any accusations of financial irregularities are “entirely false”
● The allegations are based “on out of context materials purported to have been hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people.”
And it goes from bad to worse for City as the Premier League say they are also investigating City for breaching FFP rules.

The Premier League is investigating Manchester City for allegedly breaching financial fair play rules.

On Thursday, Uefa said it was looking into "several alleged violations" concerning FFP at the club.

City claim the allegations are "entirely false" and on Friday, manager Pep Guardiola insisted the situation would not affect his legacy.

The Premier League now says it is investigating financial matters and academy player recruitment at City.

German news magazine Der Spiegel has published a series of claims, based on leaked documents, that Premier League champions City have violated FFP rules.

The publication also claims City made a banned payment of £200,000 to Jadon Sancho's agent when the England winger was 14 years old.

"The Premier League has previously contacted Manchester City to request information regarding recent allegations and is in ongoing dialogue with the club," a Premier League statement read.
 
Major Tom

Major Tom

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I'm not really interested in seeing City punished but them having to reveal their true financial position would be interesting. There is no way they can afford that squad and the commercial revenue figures are so obviously fabricated.

This fella explains the situation quite well (you'll need to click to read the additional posts in Twitter feed)....


How absurd those figures are is United have commercial revenue of £276m but City are claiming they made £232m.

The all commercially powerful United are only £40m ahead of a club who was nothing 10 years ago?
 
CaptainObvious

CaptainObvious

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‘City have been referred to Club Financial Control Body adjudicatory chamber by UEFA over a potential breach of FFP rules.’

Looks like UEFA are getting close to a decision on this. I wonder will they make the evidence collected available to the public?

I don’t quite understand what City are alleged to have been up to. I mean if I’m reading it correctly they are being investigated for breaches over a period for which they were already found guilty of wrongdoing and fined about €50m?
 
Slenderman

Slenderman

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I'm not pretending I have any legal backround but have the FFP rules ever been challenged? Surely if I want to put my money into my business that's my right. Restraint of trade?
 
Boozy

Boozy

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I'm not pretending I have any legal backround but have the FFP rules ever been challenged? Surely if I want to put my money into my business that's my right. Restraint of trade?
You can buy who you want, but if you want to participate in UEFA competitions you'll have to follow the rules.
 
Birdman

Birdman

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I'm not pretending I have any legal backround but have the FFP rules ever been challenged? Surely if I want to put my money into my business that's my right. Restraint of trade?
At the end of the day the club/business has to be sustainable. What happens if/when the owner pulls the plug?
 
SteveO

SteveO

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One charge down. Admitted wrong doing on 1 player pre-2016 when guidance on the interpretation of the provisions was issued, since which date Manchester City has been fully compliant.

No transfer ban.
 

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