After a series of allegations from several quarters concerning violations of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations by Manchester City, UEFA has swept into action. The European football governing body has confirmed it has launched a formal investigation into the allegations.
Back in November, German publication Der Spiegel, using material it claimed to have obtained from the whistleblowing outlet Football Leaks, accused Manchester City of foul play. This is with regard to financial contribution to the club by the Abu-Dhabi group. The club owners are accused of setting up sponsorship deals to circumvent UEFA regulations limiting how much money owners can put into a club.
The German magazine accused the Sheikh Mansour led City ownership of using its fortune to top up multi-million pound sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi companies. This then allowed them to meet UEFA’s FFP regulations thereby preventing sanctions from the body.
Consequently, UEFA announced on Thursday those claims were being investigated. A statement from the governing body made known via media outlets read:
”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 (FFP) regulations.
”The investigation will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets.
”UEFA will make no further comments on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.”
Following the punishment of several clubs, including City, by the body for different offences in the past, it’s clear that the club will be punished if found guilty. That’s a big ‘if’. Should the club be found guilty, it could be hit with a ban in either or both of transfers and from the Champions League in the coming season(s). Needless to say, that can seriously affect the progress currently going on at the club.
But City has responded to the development by expressing support for the investigation. In a statement the club has made it clear there has been no wrongdoing in its dealings.
”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,” a statement from club read.
”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.”
One can only hope these investigations are carried fairly and quickly. This should lay the matter to rest once and for all for all parties to move forward.