Manchester City is said to have launched a secret project to shift the cost of players' image rights to a third party to circumvent the financial fair play penalty.
In the second four-part investigation, which is allegedly based on further hackled documents from the Whistleblowers of Football Leaks, a covert project entitled "Longbow" is described in a report in Der Spiegel.
Football clubs are required to pay their athletes the right to use their image, be it on posters in the club shop or in advertising for new shirts. However, it is claimed that Manchester City has exhausted the rights to save on spending cuts.
It is alleged that Sheik Mansour has paid a third party to save on image rights
Football clubs are required to pay their athletes the right to use their image for promotions
It is alleged that a marketing company called "Fordham Sports Management," allegedly controlled by Jonathan Rowland and his father David, bought the copyright, but they were secretly fed eleven million pounds by Man City's owner Sheik Mansour.
It was therefore reported that the deal was a "closed loop" where Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) transferred Rowlands money to buy their players' image rights, which was then the case Manchester City to hide the expenses.
A mixed set of allegedly leaked emails also claim Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City, knew the club might be in the fight against financial fair play.
In memos that were allegedly seen by Football Leaks whistleblowers, they said that Soriano, who reported to the club leaders after a meeting of the European Club Association (ECA), wrote in 2012: "They are all in favor of FFP in a way Wise one I would name any industry association.
WHY PROJECT LONGBOW?
The creative name of Manchester City for its secret project is explained in the Mirror's report.
It is alleged that the club's senior legal advisor, Simon Cliff, stated in an internal email that the longbow had been the Englishman's weapon when they defeated the French at Crecy 1346 and Agincourt 1415.
The "opponent" of Manchester City was, as described in the Football Leaks report, French UEFA President Michel Platini and his signature project – Financial Fair Play.
It is alleged that the name "Project Longbow" was then distributed by club staff for several years when the club fought against FFP.
Leaked e-mails allegedly written by club boss Ferran Soriano (left). Detail The city's concerns of being considered "global enemies of football" because they are fighting financial fair play
Jonathan Rowland (left) and his father David (right) were allegedly transferred by the Abu Dhabi United Group for the purchase of the marketing rights of the players of Man City
WHAT IS FINANCIAL FAIR?
Financial Fair Play was approved by UEFA in 2010 and first brought into play in 2011. It ensures that clubs that have qualified for UEFA competitions must demonstrate that they have no overdue liabilities to other clubs, their players and tax authorities throughout the season.
In short, clubs can spend up to € 5 million (£ 3.9 million) more than they earn per evaluation period. However, clubs such as City with the richest owners are eligible for losses totaling £ 35m.
The assessments are now made over a period of three years. In 2014-15 losses were still limited to £ 35 million. In 2015-16 the limit dropped to £ 25.5m. The pattern was then repeated in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
The money spent on stadiums, training facilities, youth support or community projects is exempt from tax, but clubs must offset "football-related expenses" such as transfers and wages with television and ticket revenues.
All of this is overseen by UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB).
"We have to fight this [FFP regulations] and do it in ways that are not visible, or we are referred to as global enemies of football. "
Meanwhile, Spanish league leaders have asked UEFA to investigate the club following the leaked documents.
La Liga President Javier Tebas wrote to Uefa over a year ago, demanding an investigation into City and Paris Saint-Germain and the Spanish league. The documents received by the German magazine Der Spiegel clearly indicate violations of the FFP.
Joris Evers, La Liga Chief Communications Officer, told The Times, "Our position is clear, and the leaks confirm what we've been saying for over a year.
"Uefa should now take action and apply the existing rules and necessary sanctions. Uefa should fulfill its task of enforcing the FFP, as, as already mentioned, both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain do not comply with the FFP rules. "
The Uefa does not comment on "secrecy obligations" and City still has to react. However, as long as it is within the deadline, it could reopen an FFP investigation against City if the full documents are publicly available or sent to them.
The latest allegations from Football Leaks came after their first report on Monday claiming that city owner Sheik Mansour had paid most of the so-called deals with club sponsors to meet UEFA's FFP requirements.
Sheik Mansour (center) is also accused of selecting the tab for over-sponsored deals
City won the league in 2012, but new claims shed light on the club's financial affairs
An agreement with Etihad Airways alleges that a staggering £ 59.5 million of the £ 67.5 million was largely funded by Mansour. The revelations could lead to sanctions by UEFA and the Premier League. There would also be no comment on a Monday evening request, and there are concerns about the way the documents were received.
If they conclude that the emails were retrieved illegally, City, which was sanctioned in 2014 for violating the FFP rules, could not take further action.
City reiterated on Monday night that they "will not comment on out-of-context materials allegedly hacked or stolen by City Football Group and Man City employees and their associates."
One of the e-mails allegedly received by the Spiegel in 2010 is reported to have been discussed by board member Simon Pearce, who communicates with the bosses, for a $ 15 million deal with associate Aabar.
"As we have already discussed, Aabar's annual direct commitment is £ 3 million," he wrote. "The remaining £ 12 million comes from alternative sources provided by His Highness."
WHO ARE THE ALLEGED KEY PLAYERS?
Sheikh Mansour (Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan): Owner of the City Football Group, consisting of Manchester City, Melbourne City and New York City Football Clubs. He is a member of the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi and is currently Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak: Chairman of the City Football Group and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Mubadala Development Company. He was appointed by Mansour after his takeover in September 2008 as the first Chairman of the Board of Directors, before he became Chairman in 2013.
Ferran Soriano: First with his youth club Barcelona immersed in the world of football, first as vice-president of the economy and then as interim CEO, while Pep Guardiola was the manager. In September 2012, he was named CEO of Manchester City, and in 2014, he added the CEO positions of New York City and Melbourne City to his job list.
Simon Pearce: The Australian is a member of the City Football Group and is widely regarded as one of the most influential representatives of the United Arab Emirates. He is a close ally of Khaldoon. After the acquisition of Mansour in 2008, he was appointed to the Board and is described by the WSJ as "smooth".
The Rowlands: Jonathan Rowland and his dad David (pictured at the wedding of Princess Eugenie) are the experts the club claims to have brought. David was already on the news when he donated millions to the Conservative Party before he was appointed Treasurer. In the late 1980s, he also helped finance an acquisition of "Edinburgh Hibernian," a parent of Hibs Football Club , The deal then got pissed off as the company went into the deal, and he was attacked by the Commons and described as a "dodgy financier."