Guardiola: Manchester City don't just win because of cash spent

Ross Houston
November 8, 2018

Der Spiegel declares that City could have slowed down their project when it became clear as early as 2010 that they would fall foul of FFP rules - sourcing new revenue not linked to their owner, cutting costs and generally lowering expectations until it was possible to compete fairly.

Der Spiegel, crediting Football Leaks, has also alleged the third-party company to which they sold player image rights was also funded by the Sheikh.

"We work every day but the reality is that we don't start matches well, but if we don't start well and we end well, that's fine".

When the initial deal was signed in October 2015, both Guardiola and City made no public comment on the agreement.

Mourinho was asked about his view of the allegations against City, and said he suspected wrongdoing at the club.

"But I am part of the club, I am supportive of absolutely the club and we want to do what we have to do in terms of the rules". The statement said the club would not comment on "the attempt to damage the club's reputation", but Guardiola fielded questions about the allegations at a news conference ahead of their Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. And we want to do what we have to do in terms of the rules.

Since Man City was bought with Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth in 2008, a team long in the shadows of more glamorous Manchester United has overtaken its rival on the field.

Italian manager Roberto Mancini was sacked in 2013, just after City had failed to defend their first Premier League title and lost the FA Cup final.

David Frommer, spokesman for the European Club Association, said the organisation had "full trust in UEFA's organs of control in holding clubs to account".

Der Spiegel cited Man City documents in which officials wrote: "Without significant additional revenues".

The emails appear to suggest that in 2012 the club investigated avenues to avoid non-compliance of impending FFP rules under of a project known internally as "Longbow".

In an internal memo seen by the magazine, Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano said: "We will need to fight [FFP] and do it in a way that is not visible, or we will be pointed out as the global enemies of football".

The cache, which spans much of the past 10 years, includes previously undisclosed details of UEFA's investigation of the financial affairs of City and Qatar-owned Paris St Germain. It was supposedly used as a vehicle to disguise payments to players for the right to use their image in marketing campaigns.

When auditors examined the arrangement on behalf of Uefa, they described it as a "very good deal for MCFC", with one analyst stating he was having difficulty understanding how Fordham expected to make a return.

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