Highest wage bill in world sport set to land City in hot water
The scale of spending which has left Manchester City on the brink of being sanctioned for breaching Uefa's Financial Fair Play regulations was laid bare last night after it emerged they are the highest-paid team in world sport.
City are expected to learn by the end of the week that they have been found guilty of failing to comply with FFP strictures aimed at restricting financial losses and excessive investment.
While Chelsea have cut their wage bill to help them comply with Uefa's cost-control measures, new research has revealed City continue to outstrip American sporting giants such as the New York Yankees, as well as football superpowers Barcelona and Real Madrid, in terms of average salaries paid to their stars.
The Global Sports Salaries Survey 2014, compiled by the Sporting Intelligence website and 'ESPN The Magazine', showed the average first-team player at City is now paid £5.3m a year (£102,653 a week).
The Yankees, who have struck a partnership with City to run the New York City Major League Soccer franchise, were found to pay an average salary of £5.2m a year at their Major League Baseball club.
And whereas the Yankees' average increased by just 5pc between 2010 and 2014, City's has rocketed by 265pc under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan.
Uefa's Club Financial Control Board met yesterday, and will reconvene again today, to make a final decision on whether City should be sanctioned over their spending and to what extent.
As well as forensically scrutinising whether the club's contracts with the likes of airline Etihad comply with FFP, the CFCB is also thought to have examined their relationship with both New York City and City's own women's team, payments from whom have helped balance the books.
City remain adamant they have played by the rules and manager Manuel Pellegrini yesterday sidestepped any talk of a Uefa sanction.
The Chilean was focused exclusively on the present and tonight's game against Sunderland, which comes just three days after Liverpool snatched the destiny of the Premier League title race from City's hands.
Pellegrini's team must now win their remaining six games this season and hope that Liverpool drop points in their final four fixtures to revive hopes of the title.
But Pellegrini, who has already delivered the League Cup to the Etihad Stadium this season, insists he and his City players possess the title-winning experience to emerge as champions.
"I think the team knows perfectly what they have to do," Pellegrini said.
"We lost that game at Liverpool, but we have still to play six games more and we will fight to the end to win the title. If we don't do it, it is because Liverpool will win their four games, but the important thing is that we win our games. If we keep on playing like we have been in the whole season, I am sure we can win these six games."
Despite a summer transfer outlay close to £100m, City could yet finish lower than the runners-up position they claimed under Roberto Mancini prior to his dismissal last season.
Many observers point to their poor away form early in the campaign as the reason for their failure to top the table at this stage of the season, but Pellegrini insists his team's position is not down to those results.
"You have the whole season and maybe all the teams lost some games away," Pellegrini said. "Liverpool against Hull or Chelsea against Crystal Palace, all the teams will drop points in unexpected games.
"The season is very close for all the teams, but when we finish on May 11, we will analyse what happened with the games. We still have two games in hand and we hope we can win those six points."
City captain Vincent Kompany has been declared fit to face Sunderland, despite playing against Liverpool with a heavy strapping on his left knee.
And Pellegrini is confident Yaya Toure will return to action this season after suffering a groin injury at Anfield.
"Yaya has a muscle injury," Pellegrini said. "We will see with the doctor how many days he will be out, but maybe it is not so bad as we thought at the beginning.
"I think he needs at least 10 days or two weeks to recover." (© Daily Telegraph, London)