According to a leaked report, Premier League champions Man City were paid £30m by a ‘mystery figure’ to cover for supposed money from a ‘sponsorship’.
In February, it was revealed that Man City have been charged by the Premier League for ‘more than 100’ breaches of its financial rules.
This followed a four-year probe into their conduct between 2009/10 and 2017/18. The Premier League subsequently referred City to an independent commission.
An outcome is yet to be reached regarding these charges, but Martyn Ziegler and Matt Lawton of The Times have posted a detailed update after a ‘leaked report revealed that a mystery figure from the United Arab Emirates paid Manchester City £30m’.
The two £15m payments – which were made in 2012 and 2013 – were submitted to ‘cover sums that were supposed to have come from one of their main sponsors’. This is according to an as yet unpublished UEFA report, which has ‘been obtained by the makers of a YouTube film about Man City’s finances’. The report adds.
‘The adjudicatory committee of Uefa’s Club Financial Control Board’s (CFCB) report concludes that the payments, which were supposed to come from the UAE’s majority state-owned telecommunications company Etisalat, were actually “disguised equity funding”. It alleges that funding came from City’s owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), the investment group headed by Abu Dhabi’s vice-president, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
‘The report says that during a Uefa disciplinary hearing, City’s lawyer named the person who paid the money as “Jaber Mohamed” and stated that he was “a person in the business of providing financial and brokering services to commercial entities in the UAE”. The report adds that “…the obvious question, not answered at any point in the club’s submission and evidence, [is] why either Etisalat or ADUG should have needed any financial assistance from a broker in paying the Etisalat sponsorship liabilities.”
‘City’s case was that Etisalat repaid the money to their owners in 2015, but that was not accepted by the Uefa adjudicatory committee. It imposed a two-year European ban on City in 2019 only for it to be overturned a year later by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled that the £30 million payments could not be dealt with as rule breaches because they were time-barred. Two of the three CAS panel members also cleared City of receiving disguised equity funding via the Etihad airline, saying that claim “remains unsubstantiated”.
‘Significantly however, the Etisalat payments can be dealt with by the Premier League among its charges as, unlike Uefa, it has no time restrictions. City have declined to comment on the latest allegations.’
It is also revealed that the ‘makers of the film have kept their identities secret’. While they insist that they are ‘not funded by any Middle East state or any other agency’, Man City ‘suspect there may be geopolitical motives behind the production’ amid the ‘political tensions between the UAE and Qatar’.
Ziegler and Lawton note in the report that The Times have seen a ‘copy of the UEFA report’, which states: “At the hearing, leading counsel for the club, responding to questions from the adjudicatory committee, stated that the payer was Jaber Mohamed.”
The report from The Times adds: ‘Sources with knowledge of the Uefa case have told The Times that investigators were unable to verify the identity of Mohamed, and tried unsuccessfully for City to provide him as a witness at the CAS hearing.’
Source: Football 365