Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 June 2019

Khaldoon Al Mubarak accuses La Liga chief of 'hypocrisy' over criticism of Manchester City

City’s chairman reiterates club’s confidence they will not be punished by Uefa over Financial Fair Play breach claims

Khaldoon Al Mubarak has accused Spain’s La Liga president, Javier Tebas, of “hypocrisy” over his criticism of Manchester City’s success.

City made history on May 18 by becoming the first English men’s side to complete a domestic treble after winning the FA Cup, but this led to a renewed attack on the club from Tebas.

On Tuesday, he accused City of distorting the transfer market and forcing teams in Spain and elsewhere in Europe to pay high wages just to keep players at their clubs.

But City’s chairman hit back in a video interview on Sunday in which he accused Tebas of trying to belittle the Premier League, while also confirming he is confident the club will be cleared by Uefa over claims of Financial Fair Play breaches.

Al Mubarak dismissed Tebas’s comments and pointed out that the financial dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona over the years had allowed them to dominate Spain’s top flight – to the detriment of other sides in the competition

“He talks about how we distorted the market? There is a hypocrisy in this statement that is ironic,” Al Mubarak said.

“Number one, let’s look at the Spanish league, the time of breaking records on player acquisitions. I mean, who started that?

“Let’s go back to the world records, (Luis) Figo, (Zinedine) Zidane. These huge jumps in these transfers, where did they happen? You know, the history, you have to look back at the history of La Liga, a league dominated by two clubs, and Mr Tebas should look back at the history of that league and how distortion that has happened throughout the ages.”

Al Mubarak rejected Tebas’s claims that City had inflated the transfer market, highlighting that the fees they have paid to recruit players pale into comparison with those of other clubs.

“In the top 10 transfers of all time, Manchester City has not a single player in that, not a single one. I don’t really take it seriously and I ask our fans to always put it in context,” he said.

Al Mubarak said he was also upset that Tebas has claimed Paris Saint-Germain, who are owned by Qatar Sports Investments, and City used “petrol money and gas money” to fund their clubs.

“I think there’s something deeply wrong in bringing ethnicity into the conversation,” he said. “This is just ugly. I think the way he is combining teams because of ethnicity, I find that very disturbing, to be honest.”

City became the first side in 10 years to retain the Premier League and additionally won the League Cup and FA Cup.

Al Mubarak said he understood rival teams and leagues may be jealous of their achievements but the accusations still frustrated him.

“I will not accept for this club to be used as a diversionary tactic on poor investment decisions from other clubs,” he said. “People make decisions – they’ve got to live by them.

“We’ve managed ourselves well and we will be judged by facts and facts alone. This is a well-run club. That’s a fact – a well-managed wage-to-revenue ratio that compares to some of the best-run clubs in his league, La Liga, but, frankly, in all of European football.

“With success, there is a certain level of jealously, envy, whatever you call it – that’s part of the game.”

Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body adjudicatory chamber is assessing whether City face sanctions, including a possible Champions League ban, over claims of FFP infringements, something the club deny.

Al Mubarak said City had co-operated fully with the investigation and he remained confident they would not be punished.

“I believe, quite comfortably, if the process is going to be judged on facts then, unquestionably, we will prevail,” he said.

“If it’s not about facts and it’s about other things, then it is a different conversation. But I strongly hope that these regulatory bodies will ultimately make the decision based on facts.”

Updated: May 27, 2019 10:44 AM

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