Manchester City could face a ban from playing in European competitions as further leaked emails appear to show how the club circumnavigated Uefa’s financial fair play rules.
Late last year, the club strongly denied allegations that they had breached FFP after a series of leaks published by German magazine Der Spiegel. Now, more emails have been leaked to the magazine, which purport to show a City director, Simon Pearce, detailing how the club got around FFP rules by having owner Sheikh Mansour funnel money into the club through inflated sponsorship deals.
In an email to Abu Dhabi-based financial investment company Aabar, Pearce wrote: “As we discussed, the annual direct obligation for Aabar is £3m. The remaining £12m required will come from His Highness [Sheikh Mansour].”
Another leaked email, allegedly from then-chief operating officer Graham Wallace, read: “What we therefore need is that monies we are attributing to [City’s sponsors] Etisalat, ADTA, Aabar and Etihad…are physically remitted to us by those businesses…to avoid any related party influence/control considerations.”
If the allegations are true, then City would be in severe breach of Uefa rules about the amount of investment an owner can provide. The potential censure could include a ban from playing in the Champions League, which would have major consequences for City’s business model. Yves Leterme, chairman and chief investigator of Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body, has previously said that he would seek “the heaviest punishment” if City was found guilty.
For its part, Manchester City has issued the same response it did when the accusations first came to light, maintaining that it would not acknowledge hacked communications.
“We will not be providing any comment on out-of-context materials purported to have been hacked or stolen from City Football Group and City personnel and associated people,” the club said. “The attempt to damage the club’s reputation is clear.”