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How 'leaked' emails and invoices led to Manchester City's ban from Europe

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hroughout the startling “leaks” of Manchester City’s internal emails in the German magazine Der Spiegel, and the resulting investigation by Uefa which led ultimately to Friday’s guilty finding and two-season Champions League ban and €30m (£25m) fine, City’s response has been uniform: scorn, outrage, denial.

First, and most damaging, were emails and accounting documents which appeared to show that City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour, of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, was mostly funding the huge, £67.5m annual sponsorship of the club’s shirt, stadium and academy by his country’s airline, Etihad.

The emails, splashed by Spiegel with evident relish across a series of exposés, punched into City’s expertly and expensively created modern image in three broad areas relating to Uefa’s financial fair play rules, which were introduced in 2011 to deter clubs from overspending.

Now, after a review of the evidence and a hearing last month [January], the AC has decided like the IC, that City’s hierarchy have been damned by their own internal material.

One of the emails, from City’s then chief financial officer, Jorge Chumillas, headed “Cashflow”, stated that Mansour’s own company vehicle, the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), would be paying £57m as a “contribution to 13/14 sponsorship fee”, while only £8m was Etihad’s “direct contribution”.

City expressed huge outrage that the IC’s pending decision to charge was leaked two days early – which was indeed embarrassing to Uefa – although the truth is that throughout the process, very little detail has leaked.

Then Chumillas sent invoices for Etihad, internally to the City executives Ferran Soriano and Simon Pearce, stating that for 2015-16, the Etihad sponsorship was £67.5m, of which “£8m should be funded directly by Etihad and £59.5 [sic] by ADUG”.
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