Arsene Wenger believes Manchester City’s 400 million-pound sponsorship deal is a threat to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
English Premier League club City’s commercial arrangement with Etihad Airways, which will see the City of Manchester Stadium rebranded, comes before the first season in which UEFA’s new regulations are implemented.
The Financial Fair Play regulations will require all clubs to break even by 2013/14, or risk exclusion from the Champions or Europa leagues.
Arsenal manager Wenger, a vocal critic of large cash injections into clubs by wealthy owners, is concerned deals such the one between City and Etihad will undermine the UEFA initiative.
“It raises the real question about the credibility of the Financial Fair Play,” Wenger said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur as part of Arsenal’s tour of Malaysia.
“That is what it is all about. (City) give us the message they can get around it.”
“It means the Financial Fair Play will not come in. It is as simple as that. I can understand how they do it but it raises the real question – the difficulty and the credibility of Financial Fair Play is at stake.”
“Plus, normally the sponsorship has to be at the market price if the Financial Fair Play has to have a chance. It cannot be tripled or quadrupled because that means it is better we don’t do it and leave everybody free.”
“That can be defended, but if they bring the rules in they have to be respected.”
When asked if he would discuss his concerns with countryman and UEFA President Michel Platini, Wenger replied: “I don’t need to because it looks to me that he (Platini) is very strongly determined on that.”
“He’s not stupid, he knows as well that some clubs will try to get around that and at the moment I believe they are studying, behind closed doors, how they can really strongly check it.”
“That’s where the Financial Fair Play is at stake.”