Sport

Manchester City rocked by latest allegations of financial doping

Share
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan

He went on to accuse City - and Paris Saint-Germain - of cheating.

Der Spiegel also reported last Friday that Man City threatened to destroy UEFA with legal action before reaching a 2014 settlement to forfeit 20 million euros ($22.8 million) in prize money.

Defending the Premier League champions as "incredibly professional" in response to allegations they bent financial fair play rules, he added: "Of course, like many, many clubs around the world they have a lot of money, but they are also an incredible club".

Instead, the revelation is that City saw FFP, and its support from Europe's elite clubs, as something they needed to "fight".

It is not the first time that Manchester City have been called out by the Football Leaks reports.

"But I am part of the club, I am supportive of absolutely the club and we want to do what we have to do in terms of the rules".

La Liga, the Spanish top flight, has said that, if UEFA does not act, it will "launch a complaint with European Union competition authorities".

"We certainly hope Uefa will take the right decisions and enforce Financial Fair Play rules, but we don't have full confidence that they will".

In its latest claims, Der Spiegel says Manchester City used "creative solutions" to avoid costs, calling their endeavour "Project Longbow".

It created "Project Longbow", the name seemingly chosen because it was the weapon of choice for the English army against the French at the famous medieval battles of Crécy and Agincourt.

One alleged example is the transferring of player marketing rights to another company, meaning that the cost of paying image rights was suddenly taken away from City and put onto this new company. This was followed up by further claims on Monday and Tuesday, including suggestions sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi-based companies were topped up by discrete payments from City's owner Sheikh Mansour.

"We will need to fight this", Soriano wrote, according to the magazine, "and do it in a way that is not visible, or we will be pointed out as the global enemies of football".

Documents leaked to Der Spiegel and other media from the Football Leaks' whistleblowing website purport to show the two clubs had inflated sponsorship revenues to meet FFP requirements.

And while the club have given only a short response to the allegations to date, on Tuesday boss Pep Guardiola insisted City's success is not exclusively down to the money they have spent. But the magazine said the analyst "was having trouble" figuring out "how the [external company] expected to make a return".

A La Liga spokesman said: 'This confirms what we have been saying for years'.

Since 2008, City have won three Premier Leagues, an FA Cup and three League Cups, and have spent more than £1.4bn on players.

Share