Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano says UEFA charges of them breaking Financial Fair Play regulations are “simply not true”.
City were on Friday given a two-season ban from European football and fined 30million euros (£24.9million) for breaching financial regulations, but have vowed to fight the verdict of a UEFA investigation into accounts submitted by the club between 2012 and 2016.
“These allegations are simply not true,” Sorriano said in a video interview on the club’s website. “The owner has not put money in this club that has not been properly declared.
“We are a sustainable football club, we are profitable, we don’t have debt, our accounts have been scrutinised many times, by auditors, by regulators, by investors and this is perfectly clear.”
City, who have referred the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, have also been accused of not cooperating with the process.
But Soriano said: “We did cooperate with this process.
“We delivered a long list of documents and support that we believe is irrefutable evidence that the claims are not true and it was hard because we did this in the context of information being leaked to the media in the context of feeling that every step of the way, every engagement we had, we felt that we were considered guilty before anything was even discussed.
“But at the end, this is an internal process that has been initiated and then prosecuted and then judged by this FFP chamber at UEFA.”
City responded to UEFA’s decision on Friday by calling it a “prejudiced process” and Soriano said: “Of course a lot of people come now and say, well what were you expecting? This is the way it works.
“You should have expected a negative outcome the way the system is designed. But we didn’t believe that. We provided the evidence but in the end this FFP Investigatory Chamber relied more on out of context stolen emails than all the other evidence we provided of what actually happened and I think it is normal that we feel like we feel.
“Ultimately based on our experience and our perception this seems to be less about justice and more about politics.
Timeline of Man City’s FFP saga
May, 2014: City were handed a £49m fine by UEFA – £32m of which was suspended – for failing UEFA Financial Fair Play rules and were restricted to a 21-man Champions League squad for the 2014-15 season.
November, 2018: German magazine Der Spiegel, citing documents and emails provided by the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks, published a series of articles which accused City of trying to get around European football’s FFP rules. City had repeatedly described Der Spiegel’s reports as the product of a “clear and organised” attempt to tarnish their reputation.
March 7, 2019: UEFA announced it had launched a formal investigation into alleged breaches of FFP rules by City following a series of fresh allegations in the media. City said in a statement: “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.”
March 8: The Premier League confirmed it was investigating City over alleged FFP breaches.
May 16: UEFA’s club financial control body chief investigator referred City’s case to UEFA’s adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation.
June 6: City asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to throw out the FFP case brought against them by UEFA.
Nov 15: City failed in their bid to get UEFA investigation kicked out.
Feb 14, 2020: City were banned from UEFA club competitions for the next two seasons and fined £24.9m after being found to have “committed serious breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations”. City announced they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Feb 19: City chief executive Ferran Soriano said in a video on the club website the allegations were “simply not true”. The Spaniard added: “The owner has not put money in this club that has not been properly declared. We are a sustainable football club, we are profitable, we don’t have debt, our accounts have been scrutinised many times, by auditors, by regulators, by investors and this is perfectly clear.”