Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen second leg football match between Manchester City and Basel at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on March 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists there is more to the Premier League champions than just deep pockets after a series of allegations that the club attempted to bypass UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
Guardiola distanced himself from allegations of any wrongdoing on City’s part, insisting he doesn’t get involved in the business side of the club’s dealings.
“I’m completely honest, I don’t know what happen because I’m a manager. I’m focused on what happens on the pitch, in the locker room,” said Guardiola on Tuesday on the eve of City’s Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
“The business and how they handle this sort of situation, I am completely out.
“But I am part of the club, I am supportive of absolutely the club and we want to do what we have to do in terms of the rules.”
FFP rules were introduced to curb European sides racking up huge debts and to put limits on how much losses clubs could make over prescribed periods.
City were fined 60 million euros by UEFA in 2014 for breaching those rules, but the two parties reached an agreement under which the club would get 40 million euros back if they stuck to the terms of their settlement.
As part of the latest revelations in the Football Leaks series of investigations, Der Spiegel claim City hid shortfalls in their budget to meet FFP rules by using extra cash injections from Abu Dhabi-based sponsors.
In August Man City celebrated the 10th anniversary since Sheikh Mansour, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, took control of the club, pouring billions into player budgets and infrastructure to turn the perennial Premier League strugglers into champions.
“If people say it’s just about money we accept it, but that point of view is completely wrong,” said Guardiola.
“We work a lot in a good way and that’s why I always defend us – especially my players – and what we do.”
Guardiola was also lured to Manchester by City’s resources after great success with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The Catalan coach has delivered a combination of thrilling football and results as City romped to the title with a record 100 Premier League points last season.
And Guardiola defended the professionalism of the club at all levels behind the scenes.
“When I was in Barcelona and Germany always I hear from the boys ‘Manchester City has a lot of money, just money’, and we have to live with that,” he added.
“I am inside now for the past three years and I would say of course like many, many clubs around the world there is a lot of money, but they are an incredible club.
“There are incredible people working here and how professional they are.”