Man City FFP: Verdict given after shock hacker threat as relegation ‘precedent’ is set

Joe Williams
Man City boss Pep Guardiola
Man City are facing 115 charges for alleged breaches of Premier League FFP.

Former Man City financial advisor Stefan Borson insists the Citizens are unlikely to be concerned after Football Leaks hacker Rui Pinto threatened to release ‘hundreds of damning club emails and documents’.

The Citizens lifted their fourth consecutive Premier League title in May with Pep Guardiola’s side deserving of another title after a relentless finish to the season.

Man City were charged in February 2023 with more than 100 breaches of the competition’s financial fair play regulations dating back to 2009.

There is speculation that the club could face a points deduction or even expulsion from the competition if found guilty but Man City – who have launched a legal battle against the Premier League’s Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules – have vociferously denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight their case.

Many supporters of other Premier League clubs have become frustrated at the lack of movement on the case given Everton and Nottingham Forest’s points deductions over their breaches of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules last term.

And now Football Leaks hacker Pinto, who previously leaked details of Roberto Mancini’s contract and other important emails, which were handed to authorities in 2018 to form part of the evidence against Man City.

Pinto, who has been in a witness protection programme since 2020, told the OffShore-Alert Marbella Conference via video link from his safe house: “The Man City releases showed amounts of money being paid into by the club that were not mentioned to the football authorities.

“These documents form part of the Premier League investigation into City. I have now handed five hard drives to French and German authorities with millions of documents, including more on City and I have described what is on each.

“I am confident they will find criminal relevancy.”

A legal representative for Pinto added: “We have been approached by investigators to share information regarding Manchester City that has not been released before.

“We haven’t released the information yet but we have a massive file of Manchester City-related documents that has yet to be released.

“The files will be published at some point, we cannot say when but we will do it.”

But former Man City financial advisor Borson doubts the Premier League side “will be losing too much sleep over” over Pinto’s threats.

“I don’t think it makes much difference to the situation at all,” Borson told Football Insider.

“If he’s got documents that he’s wanting to share that are meaningful and important, I suspect they would have been shared previously either to the press or the relevant authorities.

“It seems very odd that you would wait until 2024 or even later before disclosing such important documents if you thought they were great.

“I don’t think City will be losing too much sleep over it, but it’s the story that never dies as far as they are concerned.

“I think the Premier League will have the access and the documents that it feels it needs to make its case.”

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And The Times chief sports reporter Martyn Ziegler insists Swindon Town’s relegation from the top division in 1990 ‘could be cited as a precedent should Manchester City be found guilty of breaching 115 Premier League rules’.

Ziegler writes:

‘The example of Swindon Town being relegated from England’s top flight in 1990 for irregular payments to players could be cited as a precedent should Manchester City be found guilty of breaching 115 Premier League rules.

‘City have been accused of breaking rules on providing full details on player and manager remuneration. They are contesting the charges and a hearing is set for November.

‘Swindon were demoted two divisions — reduced on appeal to one — immediately after winning promotion to the top flight. It was found that they had used cash from programme sales, gate receipts and sponsorship to top up players’ pay.

‘The German website Der Spiegel has published contracts relating to the employment of Roberto Mancini, who was City’s manager from 2009 to 2013. It showed his first contract with City was for a base salary of £1.45million but his company in Italy was also paid £1.75million annually as a consultant for the Abu Dhabi-based club Al-Jazira, coaching there four days a year.’