Tuesday 20 November 2018

City 'ignored warnings' over controversial construction company

Manchester City ignored warnings from their own staff by striking a sponsorship deal with a construction company accused of mistreating migrant workers, according to leaked documents. (Photo by Alan Martin/Action Plus via Getty Images)
Manchester City ignored warnings from their own staff by striking a sponsorship deal with a construction company accused of mistreating migrant workers, according to leaked documents. (Photo by Alan Martin/Action Plus via Getty Images)

James Ducker

Manchester City ignored warnings from their own staff by striking a sponsorship deal with a construction company accused of mistreating migrant workers, according to leaked documents.

As the head of Spain's La Liga claimed Uefa may be reluctant to take action against City and Paris Saint-Germain for allegedly flouting Financial Fair Play rules because of a "conflict of interest", City were facing another wave of damaging allegations yesterday.

According to the latest claims from the Football Leaks whistle-blowers published by German magazine 'Der Spiegel', City pushed ahead with a £7 million-a-year regional sponsorship contract with Arabtec, a controversial Dubai-based construction company, despite club staff expressing concerns about the morality of such a deal and the potential impact it would have on their reputation. The disclosures came as Gianni Infantino, the Fifa president, defended his role in secretly helping City negotiate a FFP settlement with Uefa.

Allegations In the latest allegations to plunge City into turmoil, it is alleged a risk analysis regarding a possible deal with Arabtec was carried out by executives but that, despite the report concluding a partnership with the company would have "significant potential to damage the perception and standing of the club and its owners", the club struck an agreement regardless, signing a regional contract that would be publicised only in Arab states, Russia and Turkey, where there was considered to be less risk of condemnation.

The BBC had reported in 2009 how poorly Arabtec had treated its employees. Arabtec workers had gone on strike in May 2013, which was said to have resulted "in violence and deportations" and there had also been reports about the dire conditions in Abu Dhabi for migrant workers.

Vicky Kloss, the City director of communications, was said to have sent an email to club executives warning them to avoid a deal. "I think it's the biggest single risk to [our] reputation we have faced since 2008," Kloss wrote. "The gap between what we do and what they [Arabtec] do is unbridgeable."

City have yet to comment and continue to refer to a statement last week in which they said the leaks constituted an "organised and clear" attempt to "damage the club's reputation".

'Der Spiegel' reported last week City and PSG breached FFP rules by €188m and €215m respectively in 2014, and tried to cover up the breach using vast sponsorship deals that far exceeded their market value. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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