Guardiola defends Man City over financial fair play allegations

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan

I'm part of the club, I support the club.

Der Spiegel cites internal Man City correspondence to show the team's holding company, state-backed Abu Dhabi United Group, paid the shell firm to "buy" player image rights from the club.

French Uefa president Michel Platini was the man behind FFP.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists there is more to the Premier League champions than just deep pockets after a series of allegations that the club attempted to bypass UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. Because one of the less disconcerting conclusions from Der Spiegel's "Football Leaks" allegations should be that Uefa let you off rather lightly. "After we have three or four days to think about United".

The allegations against City, who have a number of prominent Abu Dhabi-based sponsors, are that they manipulated contracts to get around that.

And while the club have given only a short response to the allegations to date, on Tuesday boss Pep Guardiola insisted City's success is not exclusively down to the money they have spent.

City's Abu Dhabi owners are alleged to have reimbursed Fordham directly in a move which shaved millions off the club's wage bill and allowed them to report around £26m extra in marketing income.

"UEFA should do its job in terms of enforcing FFP because, as we have said before, both Manchester City and PSG are not complying with FFP rules".

"I'm completely honest, I don't know what happen because I'm a manager".

Asked about the "Football leaks" documents, which have been published widely in the media, Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday ahead of City's Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk that he had faith in the club.

The Catalan coach has delivered a combination of thrilling football and results as City romped to the title with a record 100 Premier League points last season.

This rise coincided with UEFA creating rules - in consultation with the European Club Association - to limit spending within a club's ability to generate revenue. The Guardian has not seen or been able to verify the documents Der Spiegel has used in its reporting.

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". 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".

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.

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