Premier League English

Fresh evidence regarding Man City’s 115 charges which could have huge implications for Premier League side

Fresh news have emerged that there are now new intriguing twists to the imbroglio regarding Manchester City’s impending trial over their 115 Financial Fair Play (FFP) charges, which could now be seriously impacted by new information involving the club’s major sponsors.

The 2023 Treble-winners are facing serious allegations over breaching FTP in multiple instances, with Etihad Airways alleged to have played a major role in said breaches. The broadstrokes are that German outlet Der Spiegal (via The Mirror) has claimed that the Emirati airline paid just £8 million ($10.1m) of their £67.5m ($85.3m) obligation to City, with the rest made up by disguised equity funding from the club’s owners.

However, the veracity of these claims may now be in doubt, judging by the recent decision to float Etihad Airways on the stock exchange, per The Mirror.

Reports in the Middle East, as per The Mirror, cite the airline’s decision to be floated on the stock exchange would require an Initial Public Offering, which would in turn involve Etihad voluntarily providing full disclosure of their accounts, including all financial affairs and corporate practices. This has led to stock market insiders believing that this unrestricted, open and full access would not be provided if Etihad – and by extension, City’s owners – had anything dodgy to hide, as in if fraud had been committed, as has been suggested.

In light of this latest upturn of events, a prominent figure of seniority in the banking industry is quoted in The Mirror‘s article as saying: “If it came to light that Etihad executives were indeed involved in manipulating the sponsorship deal with City, it could cause serious damage to the company’s reputation in the eyes of potential investors. Etihad would also have an obligation to disclose any ongoing investigation into the company’s accounts or conduct before the IPO was launched.

“What the Premier League are alleging is extremely serious, not just in terms of football’s rules and regulations. The accusation is that City executives have colluded with officials from Etihad and have lied not only to the club’s independent auditors but to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“By extension, that also calls into question what information was disclosed by City’s owners to Silverlake before the American private equity firm bought a significant stake in the club in 2019. That’s why the Premier League’s allegations go way beyond accusing City of failing to meet Profit and Sustainability Rules.”

The Premier League champions are fervent and adamant in continuing to maintain their innocence and will be strongly inclined to feel this evidence will have major implications in them beating the 115 charges leveled against them.

An approximate hearing date for the trial into City’s alleged wrongdoings was set for late autumn of this year, at the earliest.