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Feb 19, 2020, 6:48:00 AM

Manchester City Could Lose Their 2013/14 Title

UEFA suggests a deeper probe into Manchester City’s sponsorships back in 2015, suggesting that the club failed to properly disclose all of it.

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play compliance body is considering probing further and deeper into the amount of Abu Dhabi’s sponsorship that was declared by Manchester City back in 2016. The defending Premier League champions were fined £25 million and given a two-year ban from participating in the Champions League. This punishment was handed to the club after UEFA found that the club had ‘very serious breaches’ of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations (FPP) when they declared their sponsorships between 2012 and 2016.

While UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) and its investigatory chamber approved the club’s declarations back in 2016, the findings (which were brought to light following the Der Spiegel leaks in November 2018) places the final decision on the body. It’s up to them to decide whether or not to accept the club’s assurances that Etihad fully funded the sponsorship.

The club and airline company Etihad have repeatedly downplayed any allegations that the £67.5 million sponsorship deal was subsidised. In a statement released by the airline company, they said, ‘The airline's financial obligations, associated with the partnership of the club and the broader City Football Group, have always been, and remain, the sole liability and responsibility of Etihad Airways’.

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UEFA’s investigatory chamber (which is composed of distinguished and well-respected politicians and economists) will also address the issue concerning Manchester City’s owner Sheikh Mansour and the Abu Dhabi sponsorships. FFP regulations prevent any ‘related’ sponsorship agreements from taking place that can be used as a ‘backdoor’ to channel more funds into a club and work-around the set capacity on owner investment.

During the investigation back in 2014, PwC, a global network of firms, found that three sponsors: investment firm Aabar, telecommunications company Etisalat and Etihad were tied to Mansour. That investigation ended with the club paying settlements. That, however, meant that UEFA did not arrive at a solid conclusion on the matter. However, with the investigatory chamber being dragged into the matter, a decision will most likely have to be reached.

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Words: Carlos Corpus

Image: PA