Business of Sport
UEFA questions Man City deal
Manchester - Manchester City’s sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways is set to be put under the microscope by UEFA’s financial fair play boss Jean-Luc Dehaene, who has admitted he has some questions regarding the deal.
The recent ten-year deal with Etihad is worth a reported £400m, covering Manchester City’s shirt and the stadium.
Critics, however, have claimed that the deal is an attempt to evade European football’s new financial rules.
Chairman of UEFA’s Financial Control Panel, Jean-Luc Dehaene told media: “You know where the problems are and you know you will have to confirm them. But on the other hand they are all members of the ECA (European Club Association) and if they don't follow the rules they won't have the support of the other clubs.
“But it would be dangerous for our authority if we take judgements without facts."
The 71-year-old former Prime Minister of Belgium confirmed his panel would benchmark all deals to make sure they were “fair value”.
“If we see clubs that are looking for loopholes we will act. It is not enough to say 'we've got a sponsorship contract and that's OK' if the contract is out of line.”
Etihad also sponsors The Etihad Campas – which, when completed, will create an expanded academy, sports science centre, training ground and a 7,000 seater stadium for youth games.
However, the sponsor’s investment in the Campus is exempt from the financial fair play rules as it is not considered ‘football related’.
The club made a loss of £93m in the 2008/09 season and £121m in 2009/10 - with last year's figures, due in September, expected to be even worse.
The fair play rules state that clubs hoping to take part in the Champions or Europa Leagues must balance their football-related expenditure over a three-year period.
This season is the first that counts towards the 2013/14 assessment but clubs will be allowed to make a loss of 39.4m over the three years.
The ultimate punishment for failing to meet the criteria is a complete ban from European competition.