The so-called state clubs, including Manchester City and PSG, have been the subject of controversy in recent years due to the stratospheric salaries offered by their owners and which have resulted in the signing of big names such as Lionel Messi, Neymar , Jack Grealish, Kevin de Bruyne, among others.
The intervention of the economic groups of the Middle East has been a matter of constant review by Uefa, however, until now neither of them has come out with any strong sanction, beyond direct criticism from the leadership of other giants of Europe.
If reasons were missing for the opinion to criticize the management of the City Group, owners of the English team since 2008, this Wednesday several documents were released that incriminate the the citizens with a strategy to camouflage Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahayan’s money with alleged sponsorships or consulting bills in Abu Dhabi.
Mirrorimportant German magazine, was in charge of revealing new evidence of dark management in the leadership of Manchester City ranging from commissions to agents, through millionaire contracts to players and even with economic proposals, illegal before Uefa, to underage players.
Said medium had already ‘uncovered’ inconsistencies in the management of the English club during 2019, causing the European federation to sanction them with two years without participating in the Champions League. In the end, the the citizens They went to the CAS and won the case, opening the door to a great controversy about the power of the ‘state clubs’ before international organizations.
This time, ‘Football Leaks’ reveals that the resources of the Abu Dhabi United Investment & Development Group (ADUG) were authorized by a government agency in the capital of the United Arab Emirates through Khaldun Al Mubarak, head of the executive affairs department and at time president of Manchester City.
According to the documents, Al Mubarak was in charge of approving the flow of money from the Emirati government to the official accounts of the current leader of the Premier League. Payment invoices for intermediary agents in some deals were sent to two Abu Dhabi-based companies that directly sponsor the club.
Currently, English football is facing an open investigation against the City Group that is based on three fundamental pillars: economic pressure on young players to sign for the team; sponsors that only cover part of the annual expenses and the link of Roberto Mancini, former City manager and now Italy coach, who would have been financed with a fictitious consulting contract.
Mirror asked the club’s top brass about these investigations and the ‘Football Leaks’ documents, but the answer is that they were “taken out of context” and did not mean fraudulent management of their resourcesnor a violation of the ‘Financial Fair Play’ established by Uefa to avoid multi-million dollar investments by economic groups that are becoming stronger in world football.
Aleksandr Ceferin, president of Uefa, is committed to avoiding this type of imbalance between the big and small clubs in Europe and that is why they advanced the creation of a new regulation for the control of the wage bill, limiting the capacity to 70% of the annual income of each team as of June this year.
With this decision, Ceferin assures that he wants to “protect” the football industry. The main objective is to “better control expenses in relation to player salaries and transfer costs”, a clear response to the controversy over investment from the Middle East in clubs that have grown exponentially in the last decade, such as the case of City and PSG.