Jump directly to the content

MANCHESTER CITY owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan would allegedly “rather spend £30m on the 50 best lawyers” and sue Uefa “for the next ten years” than accept their punishment.

The Cityzens were rocked yesterday when they were banned from the Champions League for two years and hit with a £25million fine by Uefa.

 City owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan would allegedly ‘rather spend £30m on the 50 best lawyers’ and sue Uefa ‘for the next ten years’ rather than accept their punishment
1
City owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan would allegedly ‘rather spend £30m on the 50 best lawyers’ and sue Uefa ‘for the next ten years’ rather than accept their punishmentCredit: Reuters

City were found guilty by Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) of falsely inflating their sponsorship revenues when submitting accounts as part of the FFP compliance process.

And that means they will now be suspended from any Uefa European competition for the next two seasons as well as being hit in the pocket.

The guilty verdict follows an investigation that was triggered after German magazine Der Spiegel “leaked” emails and documents in November 2018.

They appeared to provide evidence that City owner Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi ruling family was mostly funding the £67.5m-a-year sponsorship of the club’s shirts, stadium and academy via his nation’s Etihad airline.

One of the emails leaked claimed that just £8m of that sponsorship in the 2015/16 campaign was funded directly from Etihad.

The rest came via Mansour’s own company vehicle for the ownership of City, the Abu Dhabi United Group.


Latest stories on Man City’s Champions League ban


The club have vowed to fight the verdict and will take it to the “Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity” in order to get it overturned.

City were initially fined £49m for FFP breaches in 2014, although that was later reduced to £16m.

However, it was upon the emergence of those leaked emails that the billionaire’s determination to fight European football’s governing body emerged.

According to one of the emails, a club lawyer - Simon Cliff - stated the chairman said in the earlier FFP investigation “he would rather spend £30m on the 50 best lawyers in the world to sue them for the next 10 years.”

City dismissed the initial reports of cooking the books as “an organised and clear attempt” to smear their reputation.

And in a statement released on Friday following Uefa’s announcement, they confirmed they will fight the decision all the way.

It read: “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the Uefa Adjudicatory Chamber.


MAKE YOUR DEBUT Bet £5 get £20 in free bets for new customers at Ladbrokes


“The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.

“In December 2018, the Uefa Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun.

“The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked Uefa process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver.

“The club has formally complained to the Uefa Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.

“Simply put, this is a case initiated by Uefa, prosecuted by Uefa and judged by Uefa.

“With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgement as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.”

City travel to Real Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League on February 26 before welcoming the Galacticos to the Etihad for the return leg on March 17.

Friday's announcement casts further doubts on the long-term future of boss Pep Guardiola - who admitted he could be axed if City fail to overcome Real.

And they could also face the prospect of losing some of their star-studded squad and missing out on new additions without the opportunity of competing in Europe's prestige club competition.

Paul Ince and Robbie Savage discuss Man City's future after UEFA ban and £25m fine
Topics