Manchester City, a prominent Premier League club, is facing accusations of accepting an illicit £30 million payment from an unidentified individual from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to a documentary, these payments were allegedly used to cover sponsorship funds that were non-existent, as ruled by UEFA chiefs.
While City overturned their European ban in 2020, these allegations have led to the club facing 115 separate financial charges from the Premier League.
The Alleged Illicit Payments and UEFA’s Findings
According to a YouTube documentary titled “Britain’s Biggest Football Scandal?”, UEFA’s Club Financial Control Board reportedly concluded that two separate payments of £15 million each, made in 2012 and 2013, were intended to disguise equity funding from the Abu Dhabi United Group, the owners of Manchester City.
These payments were said to be wrongly attributed to sponsorship funds from the UAE telecommunications company, Etisalat. UEFA’s evidence may be utilized by Premier League legal experts to pursue financial charges against the club.
Questions Surrounding the Payments and City’s Response
During questioning by UEFA, a City lawyer identified “Jaber Mohamed” as the individual responsible for making the payments, describing him as someone involved in providing financial services in the UAE. However, City did not present Jaber Mohamed as a witness.
UEFA raised concerns about the need for financial assistance from a broker when Etisalat or Abu Dhabi United Group should have been able to handle the sponsorship liabilities independently.
City maintains that the money was repaid by Etisalat in 2015, and their successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) resulted in two out of three judges deeming the claims “unsubstantiated.”
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Potential Implications and Ongoing Scrutiny
While CAS ruled that many of UEFA’s charges were time-limited and filed too late, Premier League rules do not have such restrictions. As a result, Manchester City now faces 115 Premier League charges related to financial reporting between the 2009-10 and 2017-18 seasons, as well as charges of non-cooperation with the League’s investigation spanning five years.
The club, known for vehemently denying all allegations, has chosen not to comment on these latest claims. It is worth noting that questions may arise concerning the documentary’s creators, Sunrise Media, registered in the British Virgin Islands, amid suspicions of potential links to Qatar, a Gulf rival of the UAE.
The allegations surrounding Manchester City’s illicit payments have brought further controversy to the club. With 115 Premier League charges and ongoing scrutiny, the club’s financial reporting and cooperation implications are significant.
Manchester City continues to maintain their innocence, while the origins and credibility of the documentary raising these claims have raised additional questions. The football world eagerly awaits further developments as this complex situation unfolds.