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Premier League investigating UEFA’s FFP allegations against Man City

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The Premier League have confirmed they are now investigating Manchester City for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, revealed on Thursday that they have opened a “formal investigation” into Man City for “potential breaches of FFP regulations.”

In a statement the Premier League said it is focusing on financial matters and the recruitment of academy players at Man City.

“The Premier League has previously contacted Manchester City to request information regarding recent allegations and is in ongoing dialogue with the club. The league has detailed financial regulations and strong rules in the areas of Academy player recruitment and third-party ownership. We are currently investigating these matters and will allow Manchester City every opportunity to explain the context and detail surrounding them.”

Football Leaks have recently published several details, via German publication Der Spiegel, stating that Man City have breached FFP rules in several ways, including alleged third-party ownership and a fee paid to the agent of then 14-year-old Jadon Sancho.

UEFA issued the following statement on Thursday:

“The Investigatory Chamber of the independent UEFA Club Financial Control Body has today opened a formal investigation into Manchester City FC for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. The investigation will focus on several alleged violations of FFP that were recently made public in various media outlets. UEFA will make no further comments on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.”

Man City were defiant in their response to UEFA’s statement and said they would welcome an investigation into what they call “illegal hacking and publication of City emails.”

“Manchester City welcomes the opening of a formal UEFA investigation as an opportunity to bring to an end the speculation resulting from the illegal hacking and out of context publication of City emails. The accusation of financial irregularities are entirely false. The Club’s published accounts are full and complete and a matter of legal and regulatory record.”

City were sanctioned by UEFA in 2014, along with PSG, for breaching FFP rules.

But these new details which have emerged could lead to Pep Guardiola‘s men being banned from competing in the UEFA Champions League, and further sanctions including fines and limited squad numbers for European competitions.

UEFA: FFP rules must be “strong and clear”

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Current UEFA general secretary Aleksander Ceferin is making a robust statement about his intentions to hold teams accountable under Financial Fair Play.

In the wake of reports from Football Leaks, published through Der Spiegel, alleging that both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain had overvalued sponsorships to get around FFP rules, Ceferin told the BBC that the same type of corporate actions may not continue under his watch.

[READ: Ceferin says European Super League is “fiction”]

“I don’t want to speak about Man City or PSG but for any club the rules have to be strong and clear,” Ceferin said. “We will act by the book, by the regulations. We know that we have to modernize. We know we have to check the rules and regulations all the time. We know that the situation in the football market is changing all the time. So that’s also part of our thinking for the future – do we have to do something about the regulations to be more robust? Yes.”

The new Football Leaks allegations aren’t exactly breaking news. UEFA ruled in 2014 that Man City had broken FFP rules, eventually settling with the club for around $63 million in today’s dollars, the same price Man City soon paid Liverpool for Raheem Sterling. The settlement helped Man City avoid being barred from the UEFA Champions League as well as help avoid UEFA losing key sponsorships and advertising revenue with one of the big clubs out of the spotlight.

FFP is a double-edged sword for UEFA. It was instituted by former UEFA president Michel Platini as a way to curb overspending and keep clubs from spending so much they became insolvent – look at Rangers or Valencia, for example. However, the way the rules were implemented, it almost forced the status quo to remain the same, just as billionaires from the Middle East and Asia were prepared to pump billions into their clubs, without having to worry about debts.

In order for PSG and Man City to become giants, the clubs needed to invest massively, and while both teams may have broken FFP rules, if they’re operating within their means, it should be allowed. Ceferin’s statement is bold, but it’s one that he’ll have to back up with action if a big club breaks FFP rules again. Is UEFA willing to jeopardize advertising revenue to keep the likes of Man City, or Barcelona or PSG out? We’ll see.

Reports: Football Leaks reveals documents alleging fraud against PSG

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Paris Saint-Germain is in the headlines again, this time for financial reasons.

Football Leaks, a website that has published leaked information pertaining to soccer, released to a pair of media outlets, Mediapart in France and Der Spiegel in Germany, documents alleging fraud and greed at the highest levels of European soccer. Pertaining to PSG, documents provided to Mediapart state that the nation of Qatar invested more than $2 billion into the club after purchasing the team in 2011. It was that very year that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules went into effect, and the money brought into the club likely would have led to harsh penalties against PSG, including being barred from the UEFA competitions, including the Champions League.

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The reports make the shocking claim that then-UEFA president Michel Platini and then-UEFA general secretary, now FIFA president Gianni Infantino helped cover up this information, keeping PSG in the Champions League and much of their investment off the books.

At the time, the FFP rules were put into place to promote and force clubs to try and balance the books, that way they wouldn’t be subject to overspending beyond their means and in a few years, become liquidated and destroyed as a club. However, it was around this time when wealthy business people from the Middle East and later east Asia began investing heavily in clubs, leveraging their vast fortunes against the club’s debts and transfer fees.

The second story in Der Spiegel centers around how in 2016, Bayern Munich lawyers were looking into the feasibility of withdrawing from the Bundesliga, not allowing players to play for national teams and potentially joining a European super league. Bayern Munich has denied any involvement in this story but if the reports are true, then it appears that there was serious consideration at the highest levels of Bayern about whether they should leave the Bundesliga to make more money.

Bayern and the rest of the teams that potentially would have been in the super league eventually won concessions from UEFA, including giving the top four nations in terms of coefficient four direct spots in the Champions League group stage, ensuring that the top four clubs in nations like England, Spain, Italy and Germany were reassured that they’d be playing meaningful European games in the fall and potentially in the spring.

UEFA open Financial Fair Play investigation of Paris Saint-Germain

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UEFA is taking a closer look at how Paris Saint-Germain plans to abide by its Financial Fair Play regulations in the coming year.

The European football confederation announced on Friday it was opening a Financial Fair Play investigation to monitor PSG following its massive summer spending on the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe among others.

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“The Investigatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body has opened a formal investigation into Paris Saint-Germain as part of its ongoing monitoring of clubs under Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations,” UEFA wrote in a statement. “The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of its recent transfer activity.

“In the coming months, the Investigatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body will regularly meet in order to carefully evaluate all documentation pertaining to this case.”

Neymar and Mbappe’s combined transfer fees will cost PSG around $477 million alone. PSG only made $66.4 million back in departures this summer.

It’s no surprise that PSG is being investigated for breaching FFP regulations, which state that teams have to break even instead of run at huge losses as many teams did, which led to some going into administration.

However, PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaïfi claims that PSG are operating above board and told fans not to worry about facing future fines or expulsions from competitions.

Report: PSG won’t pursue Mbappe due to FFP restrictions

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If there’s a player that’s going to command almost as much money as Neymar, it’ll probably be Monaco star Kylian Mbappe.

[ MORE: Predicting the 2017/18 Premier League standings ]

One club that appears to be out of the running for the 18-year-old Frenchman is Paris Saint-Germain, though, as the Parisians have stated that they don’t want to violate FIFA’s Financial Fair Play laws.

PSG completed their blockbuster move for Neymar last week after triggering the former Barcelona attacker’s $263 million release clause, and Mbappe would likely cost the club another $212 million.

Real Madrid and Premier League side Manchester City continue to be linked to Mbappe — who exited Monaco’s first match of the season with a slight knock. He’s still expected to play in the team’s next match on Sunday at Dijon.