German magazine Der Spiegel has revealed what it claims to be new internal emails from Manchester City executives relating to the Financial Fair Play case that was ruled upon by the Court of Arbitration for Sport this month.
This week, CAS judges published their full verdict on overturning the ruling by Uefa’s ‘Club Financial Control Body’, which had called for City to be fined and banned from European competition for two seasons.
As part of its verdict across 93 pages, CAS explained that evidence from City and Etihad executives, including club director Simon Pearce, who was also a senior executive in an Abu Dhabi government authority, had been important in its adjudication.
However, Der Spiegel has now released previously unpublished documents – not seen by the CAS lawyers – from the Football Leaks exposition of internal communications, which triggered the investigation by Uefa.
These relate to payments attached to the Etihad sponsorship contract, which were allegedly paid not by the airline, but interests connected to City’s owner Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi ruling family.
Der Spiegel reported from emails acquired by Football Leaks that Pearce had explained to Peter Baumgartner, then Etihad’s chief commercial officer, that Etihad would pay the club £99m (€110m/$130m) but that only £8m would be paid by the airline itself.
Citing the CAS judgement, Der Spiegel said: “When asked whether Pearce had ever arranged payments to Etihad in connection with the city sponsorship, he replied according to the verdict: “Absolutely, categorically, no.”
Manchester City has responded to the Der Spiegel report with a statement, saying: “The questions and matters raised by Der Spiegel appear to be a cynical attempt to publicly re-litigate and undermine a case that has been fully adjudicated, after detailed proceedings and due process, by the CAS.”