Football: Manchester City threaten LaLiga chief with legal action over remarks

Forwards Kylian Mbappe (left) and Neymar have been big signings for PSG, prompting LaLiga president Javier Tebas to accuse the French club's Qatari backers of "financial doping".
Forwards Kylian Mbappe (left) and Neymar have been big signings for PSG, prompting LaLiga president Javier Tebas to accuse the French club's Qatari backers of "financial doping".PHOTO: REUTERS

Premier League side incensed after Spanish boss voices doubt on Fair Play obligations

LONDON • Manchester City have threatened LaLiga 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 loan 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".

GOING TOO FAR

We have caught PSG peeing in the bed or the pool. Neymar has climbed on to the diving board and peed into the pool. We cannot let them get away with this.

JAVIER TEBAS, LaLiga president, offering a graphic analogy of what he thought PSG's actions amounted to.

He also said the two clubs were "laughing" at European governing body Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules, which oblige clubs to minimise their losses.

"We have caught PSG peeing in the bed or the pool," he said.

"Neymar has climbed on to the diving board and peed into the pool. We cannot let them get away with this."

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 LaLiga side Girona for the coming season, suggesting the players had been undervalued.

Asked if City and Girona were "trying to cook the books", he 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.

France's Professional Football League has also strongly criticised Tebas.

"These undignified comments do not live up to the standards of an institution as respectable and high-performing as the Spanish league," it said in a statement.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline 'Man City threaten Laliga chief with legal action'. Print Edition | Subscribe