Major decision made by Man City sponsors could have an effect on the Premier League investigation

Major decision made by Man City sponsors could have an effect on the Premier League investigation

The decision made by Manchester City’s main sponsor could have a big impact on the Premier League’s financial investigation into the team.

In February 2023, the Premier League reported 115 financial rule infractions against City, the majority of which concerned sponsorship agreement values.

Apart from various other accusations, City is accused of manipulating the worth of sponsorship deals, with a substantial share of the earnings allegedly originating from the club’s proprietors, Abu Dhabi United Group.

The club’s main sponsor, Etihad Airways, only paid £8 million of the official £67.5 million that they were supposed to pay City for the seasons 2012–13, 2013–14, and 2015–16, according to a revelation made by the German publication Der Spiegel. The owners of the club allegedly contributed the remaining sum.

That would point to a dishonest agreement between airline and City officials, in contravention of UEFA and Premier League financial rules.

City fiercely denies the allegations, saying that they “welcome the review of this matter by an independent commission” and “look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.”

Etihad and banks are reportedly currently debating whether to go public on the stock exchange, which could impact the Premier League investigation.

Etihad is allegedly preparing for an IPO, or initial public offering, which entails making their account open to the public prior to going public on a stock exchange.

Investment banking experts told The Mirror that Etihad is unlikely to allow such access if doing so would reveal evidence of a rigged sponsorship deal with City.

That would be viewed as fraud, which could harm Etihad’s reputation among potential investors.

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The source, who talked to The Mirror, claimed that City executives had plotted with Etihad officials and had lied to both the club’s independent auditors and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

As a result, it also begs the question of what information City’s owners provided to Silverlake before the US private equity firm bought a sizable portion of the team in 2019.

“For this reason, the Premier League’s accusations against City go far beyond just saying that they violated the Profit and Sustainability Rules.”

An unbiased tribunal is expected to review City’s appeal later this year; by then, Etihad might have already gone public.

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