Kieran Maguire tells Man City to get their lawyers ready as potentially incriminating emails surface
Man City will likely escape punishment for allegations of breaches of financial fair play regulations if they have the “smartest lawyers”.
That is the view of finance guru Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about potentially incriminating leaked City documents.
Der Spiegel reported last Thursday (7 April) that City have artificially boosted their FFP standing through surrogate sponsorship payments.
The German outlet published email chains that suggest that monies were in fact paid by City owner Sheikh Mansour, not the sponsors themselves.
City are also accused of making illicit payments to underage players and of employing parallel contracts, again to artificially improve their FFP status.
But Maguire suggests that the situation may not be as cut and dried as it first appears.
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“It’s an interesting one,” he told Football Insider‘s Adam Williams.
“Is it a violation of the rules? Ultimately, the money has come from either Etihad or another sponsor.
“If there’s a parallel payment into the sponsor’s account at the same time that the money goes out, I’m not sure where you stand from a legal perspective.
“It does cause eyebrows to raise, but I’m not so certain it’s illegal.
“If you sign a contract for a £35m-a-year deal and it comes from the Eithad account, is there enough degrees of separation there?
“Here, you have to talk to the lawyers. Whoever has the smartest lawyers will win out on this one.”
City announced dozens of new sponsorship deals in 2020-21, with many hailing from Mansour’s Abu Dhabi homeland.
They posted a record commercial turnover of £271.7million over the same period and became the biggest overall revenue generator in world football.