• Premier League

City chairman has dig at United over debts

ESPN staff
May 20, 2014
City target European success

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has aimed a thinly-veiled swipe at rivals Manchester United by underlining the fact his club operate without any debt.

The Premier League champions made a loss of £51 million last season and were fined £49m (€60m), to be spread over three years, by UEFA after they were found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play rules.

But Al Mubarak is confident that City, who posted record losses for a British club of £194m in 2010-11 and then lost a further £97m 12 months later, will break even this year and also make a profit in the next year.

He described the club's decision to accept UEFA's punishment, which will also reduce their Champions League squad next season to 21 senior players, as a "pragmatic" choice, while making it clear he disputes their findings and saying history will vindicate them.

Al Mubarak believes City, who have been heavy spenders since owner Sheikh Mansour bought the club in 2008, now have the income and commercial partners to bring their years of losses to an end.

"This year, we will break even," he told the club's official website. "Next year, we will go into profitability while maintaining everything. We will keep investing in the club, we will keep investing in youth, we will have a sustainable project, in Manchester and across the board in the City football group."

In an inference to Manchester United, who have debts of £351m, Al Mubarak added: "We have zero debts. We don't pay a penny to service any debts. For me, that is a sustainable model. However, our friends in UEFA seem to believe otherwise.

"They have their view, we have ours. I disagree with their views but we are pragmatic and we will do, as always, what is best for this club. If it means sometimes to take a pinch, we will take a pinch and move on. We know we have the right model and it will not compromise us and the strategy we have started and will continue to implement.

"Financial fair play has a particular model in mind and preserves other models that I disagree with and the model we have started on six years ago. I think then history will judge what was right for football. I have all the confidence in the world where we are going to be in six years."

Sheikh Mansour has invested around one billion pounds in City, who are opening a £200m training complex, the Etihad Campus, later this year.

Al Mubarak said: "Six years ago, we started a journey. When we invested in the club, it was 20th in terms of revenues among the clubs in Europe. It was very challenged, it had a lot of debts, poor infrastructure and had difficulties attracting talented players to compete and win leagues, whether domestically or European.

"Over six years, step by step, we have invested in this club. We have invested in the stadium, in the best youth facilities in Europe.

"We have invested in top players around the world, good players, talented players, good people. We have continued on in our commercial strategy. We have commercial partners all over the world. We went on a commercial blitz over six years and we are seeing the results today.

"We went from an investment strategy that was targeting six years of heavy investment in building up this ethos, this infrastructure to get us where we are today."

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