Football: Manchester City threaten LaLiga chief with legal action

Supporters gather outside the stadium before the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on Aug 21, 2017.
Supporters gather outside the stadium before the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on Aug 21, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

London (AFP) - Manchester City have threatened La Liga president Javier Tebas with legal action after he said their partnership with Spanish club Girona was an attempt to "cook the books".

Tebas made his remarks during an appearance at the Soccerex football conference in Manchester on Wednesday.

He said City and French giants Paris Saint-Germain were "destroying football" with state-enabled spending. But a City spokesman, in a statement released late on Wednesday, said: "Mr Tebas' statements are ill-informed and in parts pure fiction.

"As you would expect, Manchester City Football Club and the City Football Group are seeking appropriate legal counsel and will act accordingly on that advice."

PSG prised Neymar from Barcelona in a world-record €222 million (S$356.8 million) deal and have also signed Kylian Mbappe from Monaco in a move that could be worth €180 million.

City outspent any other European club in the transfer window by lavishing around £221 million (S$388.32 million) on new players.

Tebas said the assistance City and PSG received from their respective Emirati and Qatari backers amounted to "financial doping". He said the two clubs were "laughing" at European governing body Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules, which oblige clubs to minimise their losses.

Uefa has opened an investigation into PSG's transfer dealings, but City are not under investigation.

In particular, Tebas raised questions about the legitimacy of City's decision to loan five players to Girona for the coming season, suggesting the players had been undervalued.

Asked if City and Girona were "trying to cook the books", Tebas replied: "They were trying to, but they didn't manage to do it."

City purchased a 44.3 per cent stake in Girona last month, matching the stake already held by City manager Pep Guardiola's brother Pere.

Girona were promoted to the Spanish top flight last season.

Tebas is reported to have held a meeting to discuss the matter with City chief executive Ferran Soriano on Wednesday.

France's Professional Football League has strongly criticised Tebas.

"These unworthy remarks are unbecoming of an institution as respectable and successful as the Spanish Liga," it said.