Manchester City have been at the center of allegations of financial mismanagement from German outlet Der Spiegel as the ‘Football Leaks’ scandal continues to gather steam.
In the past few days City have denied allegations regarding striking a deal with UEFA to get a more lenient punishment for failing to meet Financial Fair Play rules, but there have been further damaging allegations when it comes to their Abi Dhabi owners.
The latest from Der Spiegel claims that City executives conjured up “Project Longbow” in a bid to help the club meet FFP parameters, with CEO Ferran Soriano involved as City hoped the project would “allow for many of the operational costs to be shifted either fully or partially away from the club.”
One of the examples was the marketing and image rights for players being transferred to an external company which was owned by people connected to the club and it would look like they were generating over $35 million in deals for player image rights. More detail on this, here.
Speaking ahead of City’s clash against Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Guardiola somewhat brushed off questions regarding the reports of financial irregularities and instead believed that the success of the club could not be directly linked to money.
“I think that has been said for the last decade. People are saying that the club has only won because we have money. That is an issue always here because to stay at one level and then achieve another level you need a lot of time, and of course money, but a lot of time. That is normal. The big clubs have to spend,” Guardiola said. “Why? Because we need good players. All the ideas that we have, without good players we cannot do them. If the people say it is just about money? We have to accept it. But my point of view is completely different – we work a lot. That is why I always defend my players and what they do.”
Is it about more than money though, Pep?
Can we all be honest and admit that Man City would be at very best challenging for a Europa League place had it not been for the huge cash injection from Sheikh Mansour since 2008. Instead they’ve won three Premier League titles in that period, as well as paying some of the highest wages in the game and also developing one of the greatest training facilities in world soccer.
We haven’t heard the last of this.