Manchester City rocked by latest allegations of financial doping

Doug Mendoza
November 7, 2018

Now, the second of four promised exposés from the publication focuses on other ways City attempted to come up with "creative solutions", leading to the launch of "Project Longbow".

Uefa found City had breached FFP rules in 2014 and the two parties reached a settlement, with City paying a £49m fine - £32m of which was suspended - while their Champions League squad was reduced for 2014-15.

City representatives have said the Abu Dhabi-based companies are independent sponsors.

The magazine said the name "Longbow" was chosen, according to City's chief legal adviser, Simon Cliff, as it was "the weapon the English used to beat the French at Crecy and Agincourt" in the Hundred Years' War. "Incredible people working here, and how professional they are in all the departments", he said.

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.

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A question - a honest one - for Manchester City's supporters: are you still going to boo the Champions League anthem tonight? One memo from chief executive Ferran Soriano is said to have read, "We will need to fight this and do it in a way that is not visible, or we will be pointed out as the global enemies of football".

Documents suggest a company called Fordham Sports Management - allegedly steered by Conservative Party donor David Rowland and his son Jonathan - paid City players for their image rights. The sale of marketing rights in this particular instances is said to have brought in €30m, boosting revenues to further help FFP compliance. "The most important will be Shakhtar, first because it is the next one and second because it is a final". I would say of course, like many, many clubs around the world, there is a lot of money. At the time of the email, France legend Michel Platini was Uefa president.

"It's good fun for the fans, but football is 90 minutes and especially when your opponent is strong, if you give them a 45 minute advantage, or even 20 or even 10, you have a mountain to climb".

And Guardiola defended the professionalism of the club at all levels behind the scenes.

Der Spiegel claims it has seen internal documents which show that City officials discussed how to wipe out a £9.9 million shortfall in 2013 and that owner Sheikh Mansour provided monetary supplements to existing deals with sponsors in Abu Dhabi to invest more into the club.

Other reports by GizPress

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