New documents accuse Manchester City of fraud in their funding

German media Der Spiegel highlights the close and questionable financial ties between the Manchester City club and its owner, the country of the United Arab Emirates.

The owners of Premier League clubs in the eye of the storm. While Russian elite Roman Abramovich has had to distance himself from Chelsea, Manchester City boss Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan could also be worried in the months ahead. If their club doesn’t count its expenses to buy the greatest players on the planet, it is also too generous to provide the services of the best lawyers in the United Kingdom. Objective, to defend ourselves in the best possible manner against allegations relating to our business practices.

According to an investigation by German media Der Spiegel, which had access to confidential documents through Football Leaks, City broke the rules by paying players’ agents millions of euros in commission. The current Premier League leader has also struck a secret agreement that allows him to sign underage players, against compliance with applicable rules.

Sheikh Mansour, owner of Manchester City in 2011
Sheikh Mansour, owner of Manchester City in 2011 © AFP

The obscure role of President Khaldoon Al Mubarak

The owner of the city, Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, has spent more than 1.7 billion euros over the past ten years. Faronic spending whose goal will be to give a positive image of the UAE through football. In the United Arab Emirates, it is assured that the Manchester City-owned Abu Dhabi Group Investment and Development (ADUG) is fully privately owned and owned until last year before Sheikh Mansour’s transfer to another firm. Has no relation with the government of the United Arab Emirates.

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However, football leaked documents show that some of the payments were cleared by Emirates. The Executive Affairs Authority (EAA), an Abu Dhabi government agency focused on strategic direction, will manage accounts related to ADUG. Its leader is none other than the chairman of Manchester City, Khaldoon Al Mubarak. He would have validated the government-controlled financial flow with the English club. Requests for payment of commission fees for agents were thus forwarded to EAA’s counsel.

According to some email exchanges from the club, ADUG were willing to bear the training costs associated with the transfer of Brahim Diaz from Málaga to City in 2013, wishing to hide his involvement. If the man City have already been pinned down by UEFA in terms of financial fair play, having been cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020. Neither the city nor the EAA have commented on the allegations.

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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