English Premier League football club Manchester City has reportedly refused to provide Uefa, the sport’s European governing body, with any comment amid allegations that it breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
UK newspaper The Guardian reported that City has claimed that the allegations were based on “hacked or stolen” emails.
German magazine Der Spiegel last year published a report claiming that the £59.5m (€67.1m/$76.5m) that was supposed to have been transferred to the club from the Etihad airline was in fact paid directly by City’s owners, Abu Dhabi United Group.
Uefa and the Premier League last month agreed to share information from separate investigations surrounding the deal between City and Etihad. Uefa has been probing whether the actions may have breached FFP regulations and earlier this month Yves Leterme, the chairman and chief investigator of Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body, confirmed that the club could be banned from the Champions League if it is found guilty.
City has maintained that the claims are false and The Guardian has reported that the club has now challenged Uefa to support stronger protection against hacking. The Guardian notes that Der Speigel’s original reports were based on a small number of emails that it received access to through an anonymous person based in Portugal, known as “John”. The individual refuted claims that the emails had been hacked.
The Guardian, citing sources familiar with the matter, added that City has argued in a letter that Uefa should support City and other clubs to step up cyber-security efforts, given that some of Uefa’s own emails were published.