City’s Etihad deal faces UEFA questions

UEFA Club Financial Control Panel chairman Jean-Luc Dehaene has revealed he has “some questions” about Manchester City’s groundbreaking sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways.

Etihad last month struck a 10-year deal for the naming rights to the Barclays Premier League club’s stadium as well as shirt sponsorship and funding for the proposed new Etihad Campus. The partnership, reportedly worth £400 million, has prompted criticism from some quarters that it is an attempt to circumvent European football’s strict new financial fair play rules. Etihad is the national airline of Abu Dhabi, whose ruler is the half-brother of City owner Sheikh Mansour.

Dehaene told BBC Sport: “I have some questions, yes. But it would be dangerous for our authority if we take judgements without facts. If we see clubs that are looking for loopholes we will act. It is not enough to say, ‘we’ve got a sponsorship contract and that’s okay’ if the contract is out of line.” In an interview on Monday, City’s chief executive Gary Cook said: “We’ve got a great relationship with Etihad. It’s a long-term programme and they are equally very excited by it.”

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