it's been a joy to watch Manchester City this season even without long-term injury absentee Kevin de Bruyne er city's revolving cast of superstars has continued Pep Guardiola's revolution last season they prompted to the Premier League title with 100 points 18 clear of their city rivals Manchester United in second place that kind of dominance doesn't just take skill or luck almost always and lesser City are perhaps the only exceptions of this row is the richest team that wins a Manchester City is the richest of the rich their success didn't come cheap since the club was sold to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan a leading member of Abu Dhabi's royal family in 2008 hundreds of millions of pounds have been poured into the club the area around this Manchester was renovated the club now has world-class facilities as well as a network of clubs all around the world in the u.
Uruguay Australia Spain and beyond all under the city football group umbrella and it was all thanks to an unlimited supply of money yes but also to the prudence and strategic forward-thinking of the owners from the United Arab Emirates right canny businesspeople who turned the biggest loss in football history 197 million in a single season into a 10 million pound profit last season the third season in a row that the club was in the black in 2015 13 percent of the club was sold to Chinese investors for 400 million dollars valuing the club at today's exchange rate at 2.
4 billion pounds although it would likely sell for more if the club was put on the market today much of this financial turnaround was thanks to booming television and commercial revenue with the latter proving particularly lucrative huge sponsorship deals were signed with Etihad Airways the mobile phone network Etisalat Abu Dhabi's tourism authority and Abu Dhabi investment firm a bar all of course came from the United Arab Emirates where Sheikh Mansour is the country's Deputy Prime Minister and one of the UAE s most powerful men the companies were often run or owned by members of his own family that always been question marks over the true value of those contracts and suggestions that they had been artificially inflated to comply with UAFS Financial Fair Play rules which were designed to curb just such prolific spending from the bottomless pockets of sheiks and oligarchs or as the then UEFA president Michel Platini called it financial doping those accusations were dismissed by the club UEFA did conclude that city had inflated the market rate for its sponsorship deals but only received a slap on their wrists more on that later but at the start of November a very different story began to emerge thanks to football leaks a mysterious organization that has released sensitive documents exposing the dark underbelly of football this batch of internal documents leaked to the German publication der Spiegel and shared with European investigative collaborations appeared to show how Manchester City's ownership had allegedly gone to extraordinary lengths to circumvent UEFA rules to pump huge amounts of cash into the club much of it officially off the books so that it appeared to comply with FFP in one leaked internal document dated a few days before Sergio agüero famous injury-time goal against QPR clinched Manchester City its first Premier League title in 2012 the total cash investments in MCFC by Sheikh Mansour since his takeover stood at 1.
1 billion pounds big spending to win the title was nothing new of course Jack Walker a self-made steel magnate famously bankrolled Blackburn Rovers his boyhood club to the Premier League title in 1995 but this was a different era one where financial Fairplay was the order of the day FFP was UA firs attempt to rein in the debt that was threatening to sink European clubs whilst also preventing billionaires from simply buying titles but rather than comply the Football League's revelations show that Manchester City was hell-bent on spending the money they needed to catch up with Europe's elite anyway and allegedly devising a secret project to hide over 100 million pounds worth of investment according to the leaked communications from within Manchester City the club was massively inflating its sponsorship contracts to hide cash injections from the owner which would be a clear breach of FFP one such email reported by des Spiegel appears to show how city's chief financial officer Jorge chimere's outlined how the sacking of Roberto Mancini left the club with a 10 million pounds liability we will have a shortfall of nine point nine million pounds in order to comply with UEFA ffp this season he wrote this deficit is due to Roberto Mann Chinese termination I think that the only solution left would be an additional amount of AD Abu Dhabi sponsorship revenues that covers this gap which is exactly what they did Simon Pearce and Australian PR executive who sits on city's board and who is in charge of massaging Abu Dhabi's international image and reputation suggested back dating sponsorship contracts including a fee for winning the FA Cup when chimere's asked Pierce if this was possible piss replied of course we can do what we want most damningly the emails appear to show that other contracts were in effect sham deals funded by the Abu Dhabi royal family take the 15 million pound sponsorship deal with a bar it was in fact only three million pounds from the company and the rest from the family as we discovered the annual direct obligation for a bar is 3 million pounds Thais allegedly wrote in one email the remaining 12 million requirement will come from alternative sources provided by his highness this was in effect an attempt to cook the books and pull the wool over you Ava's eyes disguising cash investments by His Highness to make Manchester City appear to be a more profitable organization than it was in total it appeared that the extra money hidden from view amounted to one hundred and twenty seven point five million pounds man there were other schemes too one dubbed Project longbow that involved setting up a shell company to buy the image rights of players from the club which opened up what looked like another stream of income in effect the money allegedly came from Abu Dhabi even Roberto Mann Chinese contract appeared to be part paid by a football club in the UAE man Cheney was also contracted to advise Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi Club owned by Sheikh Mansour which isn't part of the city football group it was another attempt to get more money on city's books but this still wasn't enough when FFP was rolled out for the 13/14 season nuevas investigators zeroed in on what looked like artificially inflated sponsorship contracts through clubs in particular concerned UEFA Manchester City and PSG effectively owned by the state of Qatar PSG had signed a five-year 190 million pound a year contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority the value of the contract was close to 1 billion pounds UEFA decided that the true value of the contract was just under 2.
5 million pounds a year the same discrepancies were found at City but rather than accept censure which would have included a huge fine and a band from the Champions League according to the leaks city threatened UEFA with legal action that could bankrupt it the clubs lawyer Simon Cliff allegedly wrote in an email that city's chairman Khaldoun said he would rather spend 30 on the best 50 lawyers in the world to sue them for the next 10 years UEFA would have to decide whether to proceed as planned or avoid the destruction of their rules and organization the football leaks trove of emails showed that Gianni Infantino who is then the general secretary of UEFA bent over backwards to accommodate city and PSG for the breaches of FFP that they were found guilty of in the end both City and PSG accepted small fines and a mild slap on the wrists and city's internal team declared it mission accomplished so what's next UEFA snoo president has announced that they must go back and look at city MPs G's cases but there are doubts about whether they can be punished given that both clubs have already accepted censor and will UEFA really wants to take on the bottomless pit of money that the royal families of Qatar and the UAE could use to destroy it but the revelations have done one thing until recently the ownership of Manchester City was seen as a benign good news story that burnished Abu Dhabi's reputation the recent revelations about human rights abuses in the country and the appalling loss of life and levels of child starvation in the war in Yemen a conflict the UAE is heavily involved in has tarnished the country's reputation key figures City like Mubarak and Sheikh Mansour are involved in the highest level of economic and political decision-making in the UAE separating the team from the political and military actions of the country has become harder in the wake of the Football League's revelations Amnesty International declared that the UAE s enormous investment in Manchester City is one of football's most brazen attempts to sports wash a country's deeply tarnished image through the clamor of the game city have said very little about the revelations although they haven't denied the probity of the documents instead they've said that the leaks were an organized and clear attempt to damage the club's reputation the club and city fans have long argued that FFP is in any case an unfair restraint on fair trade why should Nona be restricted from investing their own money in their own club a case could be made that FFP in fact entrances the dominance of the bigger clubs and prevents new players like city and PSG from breaking the cartel but both clubs knew the rules and signed up to them if you afer decide not to investigate city and PSG s alleged financial transgressions then none of these revelations will matter and it's hard to imagine any revelations that money and political power will win like it always does [Music] [Music].