Manchester City are confident they will comply with UEFA’s new financial fair-play rules despite extravagant spending in the two years since they were taken over by Sheikh Mansour.
According to figures released this week, the City owners invested a further £79.6 million into the club last month to take their total investment to £573 million since the 2009 takeover.
Under UEFA’s new rules, designed to ensure clubs are self-sufficient, benefactors will only be able to contribute approximately £40 million in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons and that figure will drop to around £26 million for the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Uefa’s financial fair-play rules require that no club should make an aggregate loss of more than £39m over the three seasons from 2011-12, or it will face being excluded from European competition. City are taking steps now apparently in an attempt not to fall foul.
City’s income for 2009-10 was £125 million but wages were at £133 million, with the club’s loss standing at £121.3 million. However, Garry Cook, the City chief executive, told the Guardian that the loss incorporated investment in the stadium – such as the City Square dining experience – and that spending on new players will now be curtailed.
“Yes, the annual report shows income growth and the loss, which people are asking questions about, but when you look from a broader perspective, there are investments not only for the team but for the fans,” he said. “The aim is to enhance the experience of this football club for all those that touch it.
“Clearly our intention is to comply (with Financial Fair Play rules). Our two-year plan was to take a budget and build a competency to compete at the highest level, not forgetting the need for succession planning in every position.
“We are pleased with how that worked and will not be signing players to the same level of intensity in the next transfer windows.
“Financial fair play is on our conscience. We talk about it at every board meeting and it’s part of our long-term plan.”
City have faced criticism for trying to buy instant success, but Cook argues that the lavish spending spree is part of a long term strategy for the club.
“Critics only have their own perspective,” Cook said. “They’re not at the football club – they haven’t been part of the planning or the long-term financial strategies.
“People think we choose players from the fantasy football league but there was a clear plan for who Roberto (Mancini) wanted to sign. One of the perceptions was that we only buy foreign players, then suddenly people saw that six of the England team who finished against Switzerland were City players.
“When people see the good things we are actually doing, they seem to be enlightened.”