March 8 – Following claim after claim of financial wrongdoing by Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City based on information provided by the Football Leaks whistleblowing website, UEFA has finally decided to take action and have opened an investigation into alleged financial fair play violations.
UEFA said the investigation, carried out by its independent club finance panel, “will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets” and that it would meanwhile make no further comment.
German news magazine Der Spiegel has been at the forefront of publishing a series of explosive claims, based on leaked documents, and in November alleged City had “deceived” European football’s governing body.
And earlier this week fresh allegations emerged suggesting City had bent FFP rules over City owner Sheikh Mansour injecting funds directly into the club in order to boost sponsorship income.
UEFA rules strictly restrict the amount of money an owner can provide but, through his investment fund the Abu Dhabi United Group, Mansour is alleged to have exceeded the limit.
UEFA previously found City had breached FFP rules in 2014 and a settlement was reached but two months ago, UEFA’s chief financial investigator Yves Leterme warned that the reigning Premier League champions could be kicked out Europe if alleged irregularities exposed in the Football Leaks scandal prove to be true.
The club, which has been loathe to respond to any of the Der Spiegel claims, were forced into commenting once UEFA had confirmed it had got involved.
“The accusation of financial irregularities is entirely false,” said a club statement.
“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.
“The club’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record.”
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