The leaks of German magazine Der Spiegel sent shock waves through world football, unearthing information that could thrust the financial integrity of football clubs back into the forefront of the media attention.
The information was most damning about French champions PSG, as well as Premier League holders Manchester City, however what’s most surprising is not the club’s alleged eagerness to disregard the financial fair play guidelines, but the reported willingness of FIFA President Gianni Infantino to accommodate the breaching of the rules.
The reports claimed that the Manchester club were cooking the books when it came to sponsorships, with £59.5m of the £67.5m worth of income from its Etihad partnership being essentially financed by the club’s owner Sheik Mansour.
The leaks also detailed that both PSG and Manchester City posted losses in excess of £150m and breached financial fair play rules, however Infantino aided the two clubs when it come to avoiding severe footballing sanctions.
In an email allegedly written by Infantino to City’s chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, Infantino, who at the time was Uefa’s general secretary outlined a possible settlement by stating: “You will see that I’ve sometimes chosen a wording which ‘looks’ more ‘strong.’”
Further concerning news for football fans coming from the leaks was in regards to potential plans for a European breakaway league, spearheaded by Real Madrid, AC Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester United the report claimed the league was in the works for as early as 2021.
It is believed that the league would be made up of 11 founding members, who would be the teams listed above, as well as Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Paris St-Germain, these sides would all avoid relegation from the league.
Additionally, it was reported that five initial guests could be invited into the league, these would be Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Marseille and Roma.
Bayern Munich responded to the claims, stating the club was “unaware of recent plans for a so-called Super League” and denied “taking part in negotiations relating to such plans”.
The club’s chairman continued: “FC Bayern Munich stands by its membership of the Bundesliga and, as long as I am chairman of the board of FC Bayern, also by the club competitions organised jointly by Uefa and the ECA (European Club Association).