Manchester City again in legal turmoil

Sportingly, all is well for Manchester City, winner of their quarter-final first leg this week against an ultra-defensive Atlético Madrid (1-0). But the financial and legal clouds accumulate at the same time above the Mancunian club. German newspaper Der Spiegel claims an investigation into possible breaches by Manchester City is now focusing on illegal payments for underage players, inflated sponsorship deals and hidden wages paid to a former manager.

The German newspaper has just published the details of its own investigation carried out in collaboration with the journalistic network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). According to him, the leaders of English football have been investigating this subject for three years.

According to Der Spiegel, the Premier League champions pressured underage players « to sign contracts with Manchester City through monetary payments, in breach of the rules ». The Abu Dhabi club’s sponsors are said to have ‘only made part of their payments to the club themselves’, with the rest being borne by club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a family member ruler of Abu Dhabi. City are also accused of paying a « significant part » of former manager Roberto Mancini’s remuneration « through a fictitious consultancy contract ».

City had already been in the sights of UEFA

In 2020, City were first handed a two-year ban from European competitions by UEFA who ruled they had committed « serious breaches » of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016 A conviction then canceled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The latter had nevertheless said that City had shown “flagrant disregard” for UEFA’s investigation into possible FFP breaches, even though he found “no conclusive evidence that ‘they disguised their landlord funding as sponsorship’.

UEFA had begun their investigation into City after Der Spiegel disclosed documents alleging the club had inflated the value of a sponsorship deal, misleading European football’s governing body.

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