Manchester City Chairman hits back at La Liga chief and FFP talk

David Cooper 27/05/2019
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Manchester City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has fired a staunch rebuttal at recent accusations concerning the club’s finances.

In his annual end-of-season interview with the club’s digital channels, Al Mubarak confronted recent comments from La Liga President Javier Tebas and UEFA’s investigations into alleged financial fair play (FFP) irregularities.

Following a story in the New York Times recently, the club responded saying they have ‘comprehensive proof’ of their innocence in regards to FFP, but this did not stop the La Liga chief wading in on the situation.

Tebas accused City, and Ligue 1 outfit Paris Saint-Germain, of damaging European football with state backing which distorts the transfer markets and stretches the game to its financial limits.

Al Mubarak rebuked Tebas’ words, suggesting he should look at La Liga’s history of big spending, and how accusations are more of an attack on the Premier League, driven by its ability to consistently outrank Spain’s top flight.

“He talks about how we distorted the market?” said Al Mubarak. “There is a hypocrisy in this statement that is ironic. Let’s look at the Spanish league, the time of breaking records on player acquisitions, I mean, who started that? Let’s go back to the world records, (Luis) Figo, (Zinedine) Zidane. These huge jumps in transfers, where did they happen? Mr Tebas should look back at the history of that league, and how distortion has happened throughout the ages.

“I think people with glass homes shouldn’t be throwing rocks.”

He added: “I don’t think it’s just an attack on Manchester City. I think there is a clear attack on the Premier League. Let’s not forget this is the best league in the world. You have four Premier League teams in the two European finals and that’s a fact and that bothers a lot of people in many places.

“We have the best league in the world, we have the most commercial league in the world, the most successful clubs in the world, economically, commercially in terms of global presence, and that’s why this attack is not just on Manchester City, it’s against this league. And I hope people start seeing that and start – I know people don’t want to defend Manchester City – but for God’s sake start defending this league.”

Al Mubarak also suggested other clubs, and leagues, need to hold a mirror up to themselves when it comes to finances.

“I will not accept for this club to be used as a diversionary tactic on poor investment decisions from other clubs. People make decisions, they’ve got to live by them. We’ve managed ourselves well and we will be judged by facts and facts alone,” he explained.

“That’s a fact; we have a a well-managed wage to revenue ratio that compares to some of the best run clubs in his league, La Liga, and frankly in all of European football.”

The UEFA probe into the club was brought to the fore again this month with the New York Times suggesting investigators could recommend a Champions League ban on the Premier League champions. But, Al Mubarak says the club has nothing to be concerned about.

“Am I uncomfortable?” he said. “No. I respect regulatory bodies doing their job and any regulatory process that asks questions. We have to professionally respond which is what we have done. We are dealing with each of these entities as per the process and we have clear answers. I believe, quite comfortably, if the process is going to be judged on facts then unquestionably we will prevail.”

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David Luiz believes Maurizio Sarri is doing an amazing job at Chelsea

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David Luiz has backed under-pressure Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, insisting the Italian is doing an amazing job.

Sarri has come in for heavy criticism this season with fans unhappy at his style of play, while a spectacular downturn in results saw them fall off the title pace.

They were neck-and-neck with ­Manchester City and Liverpool for the first couple of months but went on to suffer a 4-0 defeat by Bournemouth and a 6-0 drubbing at Manchester City.

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final penalty shoot-out defeat by City looked likely to spell the end for Sarri.

However, Chelsea recovered to finish third and have the chance to end a topsy-turvy campaign with some silverware in Wednesday’s Europa League final against Arsenal.

Sarri’s future remains up in the air but defender Luiz feels he should take enormous credit for his first season in charge.

“I think he is doing amazing, he is doing a great season,” said the Brazilian.

David Luiz

David Luiz

“We started very well, everyone was very excited saying Chelsea are going to fight for the title.

“Then we had some ups and downs but we finished the season, especially in the Premier League, very well and we have another opportunity to win this competition.

“He is trying to teach us his philosophy of football. It is part of the job. He has to try to teach us to understand his mind, the way he looks at football, and I think he is doing great.

“If you think one day you already know everything that is when you are going to fall down. It doesn’t matter what job; footballer, coach, we need to try to learn and to improve every single day.

“Football is about this. Big clubs have pressure and if you don’t want pressure don’t be at the big clubs.”

Chelsea have already qualified for next season’s Champions League but Arsenal need to win in Baku in order to join them.

Luiz insists that will not be a factor, adding: “It’s going to be a massive game, a great final against a fantastic team.

“Will they be more motivated? I don’t think so. We are motivated a lot to win this trophy.

“It’s a big trophy, Chelsea’s a big club. We have pressure, Arsenal have pressure.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Arsene Wenger considering roles other than management for his football comeback

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Arsene Wenger has admitted for the first time that he is considering roles other than management when he returns to football.

A year has passed since Wenger left Arsenal, and the Frenchman initially felt he would soon be back in a dugout elsewhere.

The 69-year-old has had offers from all over the world during that 12 months, with Ligue 1 side Lyon the latest in a long line of clubs linked.

Yet Wenger’s focus has shifted considerably since his emotional farewell from the Emirates.

“I worked for 40 years in management. You cannot say you walk out and you don’t miss it,” he said.

“Originally I said I want to manage straight away again. After that I thought maybe I’ll take a little distance.

“I came to the conclusion that I want to share what I learned in my life. Because life is only useful if at some stage you share what you know.

Arsene Wenger.

Arsene Wenger.

“I will go back into football for sure. In what position I don’t know, whether that is as a manager or not. The appetite, the desire, is still there.

“I know what kind of life I have in front of me so I have to decide that now.”

In London to announce a new venture with leading international football-tech company PlayerMaker, Wenger looks as fit as a fiddle – he runs 10km every day – and is enjoying his occasional stints as a TV pundit, although never Arsenal “because everything I say will be interpreted in a certain way”.

Wenger revolutionised coaching when he arrived at Arsenal in 1996, breaking new ground in technology, diet and sports science.

Still immersed in football, Wenger now watches the Gunners “like a fan”.

He added: “I support Arsenal and that will be forever. They are my club. I have given my life to this club, but I managed quite well to focus on something different.

“I don’t judge. I’m happy when they win and not happy when they don’t play well. But after that I try to really take a distance with it.”

Like most, Wenger is unimpressed that Arsenal and Chelsea, and their fans, have to trek all the way to Baku in Azerbaijan for next week’s Europa League final, and that Gunners midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan felt compelled not to travel for security reasons.

“That’s something that should not happen in football, in the modern world, that politically you cannot play a football game,” he said.

“It’s a little bit of a nightmare. It’s the same for both teams, always. A final is a final. I don’t think it will affect them.

“The teams do not have such a problem, they live in ideal conditions, they have a private jet, they have nice business seats. It’s the fans.

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