Date: 16th July 2011 at 12:10am
Written by:
Eastlands empty

Whatever the name it'll still be half empty

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, or should that be the City of Manchester stadium if we’re to believe the likes of Arsene Wenger and Liverpool FC’s managing director Ian Ayre.

Manchester City’s ground naming deal with Etihad Airlines has been the subject of much controversy and the debate looks set to rumble on.

The Guardian reports:

“Liverpool’s managing director, Ian Ayre, has joined Arsène Wenger in questioning the legality of Manchester City’s record sponsorship deal with Etihad. Speaking in the Malaysian capital, where earlier in the week the Arsenal manager had said that City’s new agreement raised “the real question about the credibility of financial fair play”, Ayre also queried the £400m deal.
“Under financial fair play, clubs cannot avoid the requirement to stay below aggregate losses of €45m (£39.5m) a year by effectively sponsoring themselves with what are known as related payments. Since Etihad, an airline that has the same number of aircraft as Flybe and has never declared a profit, is owned by the same Bin Zayed family that rules the emirate and owns Manchester City, Ayre believes it is a related deal and has called on Uefa to investigate the matter further.

“When I spoke at Soccerex earlier this year I was on a panel about financial fair play,” Ayre said. “The guys from Uefa said there would be a robust and proper process about related-pay transactions. Is Etihad, Manchester City and Sheikh Mansour a related party? If they are, then it’s up to Uefa to rule on them.”

“The other test the Etihad sponsorship would have to overcome is whether it represents “fair value”. Manchester City have pointed out that the £40m a year arrangement also provides for redevelopment work around Eastlands as well as shirt sponsorship and naming rights. However, Ayre questioned whether the naming rights to any stadium – especially one that already has a name – are worth anything like the money the airline has agreed to pay.”

It’s no real surprise that rival club’s are questioning City’s Etihad deal, after all everyone always expected Stockport’s finest to find a way around the new spending regulations. The likes of Liverpool and Arsenal realise that despite having a bigger global brand and higher earning power, they won’t be able to outspend City when the new rules come in, thanks to the Eithad deal.

Whether UEFA act remains to be seen, but it makes a rather amusing change seeing three of our main rivals slinging mud at one another rather than us for a change.


55 responses to “United’s Rivals Clash Before Season Even Begins”

  1. wiuru says:

    The real business has been done in trousered graft UEFA will do nothing . Lets get on with it Citeh is Citeh they will screw it up .

  2. Zorrin says:

    If indeed Utd have any reservations about the deal, how could they voice them? Etihad are rebuilding a large swathe of Manchester.

    The Glazers only take money out of the City. That’s why you’re our “quiet neighbours”, I’m rather surprised you want to draw attention to it. I’m certain City’s owner, a Muslim, would be happy to be seen pumping money in, when across town the world’s biggest sporting brand is being bled by american jews.
    Another factor is that Man Utd are still enjoying success on the field, unlike Liverpool and Monseur sour grapes.

    We should all thank Sheik Mansour for keeping Barclays afloat when the UK govenment couldn’t afford to.

    UEFAs rules, when they take effect, specifically exempt investment in infrastructure.

    It also depends on if you think City is going to be a massive, prestigeous sporting brand or not within the next 10 years. Etihad, with good insider knowledge, are betting “yes”. Their fleet can hardly be compared to FlyBe’s, yet they aren’t well known globally. City hosting champions league, premiership and FA cup matches at the Etihad stadium will massively raise their profile.

    The UAE is betting on Manchester (the City) in a big way, redeveloping, getting the council on side, and looking for those vital Manchester airport slots. Heathrow and Gatwick are a closed shop, with little room for expansion.

    One final thought:- People still haven’t caught on to just how rich Manchester City are. Its the sort of wealth that not only bends the rules, it could bend space-time itself. Put Utd, Chelsea, Real, Barca, the premiership, La liga all together, and City’s wealth is larger, by an order of magnitude. Such an enormous financial superpower is without precedent in world football. It’s never existed before, so all we know is that the old rules are out of the window.

    Mansour’s family control a cash pile estimated at a trillion dollars. Thats a million millions, for you utd fans. They own the banks which own the Glazers, so I don’t anticipate any ginger yanks will be commenting.

    • Jim Bean says:

      All that money and power, and still the real world football superstars turn you down. Says a lot about the club, doesn’t it?

    • It’s funny how city fans seem to be boasting about having all this money, after years of deriding and hating the fact that United have had money. Suddenly it’s okay to have lots of money, even if the club hasn’t actually earned any of it itself (unlike United).

      And as for putting money into Manchester, United have done more for the image of the city and all the tourism and worldwide publicity that this attracts than city even will, even with pots of Arab money.

  3. Zorrin says:

    To put things into perspective, United’s debt burden isn’t even a billion dollars yet, and you’re fretting about it.

    The family running Abu Dhabi have wealth estimated at a thousand billion dollars. If Utd were actually a billion dollars in credit rather than debt, it would still be a tenth of 1% of the funds to which Mansour, Etihad et al have access.

    The Glazers understand money, and what it means. Of course they’re going to keep quiet. They don’t even have an airforce, let alone a modern, well-armed one like City’s owner.

    If there’s one thing we should have learned in this credit crunch, its that debt is a real,tangible thing that has to be repaid, and no institution with debt is too big to fail.

  4. StonyK says:

    It annoys me that these rules have come in. Why was it never a problem before city got the money. Why was it okay for united to break the transfer record year after year only for the rules to change thenminute another clubs starts to do it.

    Interestingly city are buying players with money they have. United are buying players with several hundred millions of borrowed money. I think this is morally worse.

    And I’m neither a Chelsea or city fan.

  5. It's Grim Oop North says:


    did you really just type “stupid Mancs. MUFC 4 eva” ????

    This is perhaps the finest example of shooting oneself in the foot I’ve ever seen!

  6. chudic says:

    so financial fair play be damned due to city’s billonaires. I wonder what the stadium’s name will be when the deal expires.All these is making football look more uninteresting.

  7. It's Grim Oop North says:

    With regard to the value Etihad are getting for their money, this is from the MEN website, it outlines somne of the massive benefits to Manchester the sponsorship deal brings – It’s difficult to disagree this is anything other than a power play to make Manchester the “mecca” of our National sport, not to mention building the foundations to make MCFC one of the top football clubs in the world also.
    These plans are world beating, and unique in scale, they will transform Manchester for decades to come.

    “Multi-million pound plans to transform land around City’s Etihad stadium into the ‘world capital of sport’ have been given the green light by town hall chiefs.

    A masterplan that will deliver a string of new community facilities including a sixth form college, sports science centre and a headquarters for national sports’ governing bodies, were welcomed by Manchester council’s executive yesterday.

    The ‘Eastlands community plan’ – the details of which were revealed in the M.E.N. following the announcement of City’s record stadium deal with sponsors, Etihad, last week – will now go out to public consultation over the summer.

    The money-spinning Blues deal, which includes renaming their Eastlands ground the Etihad stadium and the surrounding Sportcity complex the Etihad campus, was described as ‘genuinely good news’ for the city by Eddie Smith, chief executive of New East Manchester.

    He said: “It gives us a very robust platform with which to underpin the proposals set out in the Eastlands community plan.”

    The plans are the latest in a transformation story being spearheaded by a partnership between the council, New East Manchester and the football club.

    Basketball, taekwando, badminton, netball, rugby league and rugby union – who want to start a new team in east Manchester – are among a raft of sports who want to contribute to a new ‘sporting mecca’ by creating national-standard facilities for use by both residents and elite athletes.

    They will sit alongside City’s own proposals to expand on to land opposite the stadium in Openshaw West. Included in the council’s community plan are a multi-sports village and national speedway stadium at Belle Vue and a new leisure hub and swimming pool on Grey Mare Lane.

    Council bosses will also build a sixth form institute that can educate both local teenagers and products of an expanded Manchester City academy, a centre of excellence in sports science and medicine with Manchester university, and a ‘house of sport’ to accommodate national sports chiefs.

    Mr Smith said the £18-20m the council will yield from City’s deal with Etihad could make a ‘significant contribution’ to the facilities contained in the plan which they hope to build over the next five years. He added: “This is a real opportunity for the area to move on and progress.” ”

    There are more developments than those above to come from the Sheikh, they are just the one’s needing council planning permission if I’ve understood the overall plans correctly.

    Of course, if you’re not from Manchester, and have no love of our rainy City, then you’re probably rather jealous and resentful of all this investment, I imagine you’re also apoplectic at this news, which surely indicates the Sheikh is commited to Manchester for the ten years of the sponsorship deal, and obviously longer, as this devbelopment will generate pots of cash for him, long after the oil has run out.
    It is also rather sad for those clubs now outside of the CL places now Fifa’s FFP rules have kicked in, they don’t stand a chance of catching the lucky four currently in place, much as the Sky money in the early nineties immediately caused an unfair monopoly.
    Good news for City ‘tho, we’re in, we’re rich, we’re well run and ambitious.

  8. Brian says:

    Green eyed monster is out in force again. Its nobody beeswax what sponcer deals city have its just that simple. Only people bending rules are at ufea who make up the rules to suit the old euro elite. Sour face has asked fir Barcalona to show him respect but slates City in public what a prick. Same goes for Liverpool muppets. City have a good deal and fair play to them and Eithad it works for both parties.

  9. Roger Mellie says:

    OK – Lets see, a club owner’s brother-in-law decides to invest in the City complex with the Manchester City Council blessing bringing investment into the community, reducing unemployment figures and creating a multi level regeneration to a delapidated region of east Manchester. This club offers discount season tickets £260 to the fans that have been caught out in the credit crunch and has created a fantastic fan experience in the ground. Wow

    Another club owner finances a deal via hedge loans using his down trodden Americal shopping malls to buy another club. Then once the deal is complete, transfer the debt to the football club and use the funds to buy lots of candy floss and Mickey Mouse badges. Then any profit that the club makes, drain these funds to stop their shopping malls going bust and to buy more Disney toys.

    Have any of the football manager discussed this matter. Have any of the reporters with average capabilities voiced any concern over the debt at United and the impending (only) shirt sponsorship deal that will be announced that will blow the City sponsorship out of the window, No.

    Get off City’s back – After all, you managers do not say anything about the extra GP yor football clubs have managed to steal from Manchester City when you have over valued YOUR players.

    See Ya

  10. glory_chaser says:

    what a piss poor article. I am a united fan and I am sick of most of us being obsessed with city. They have money now we had money for a long time before them, deal with it. Who cares if they have a good sponsorship, good luck to them. With the proposal they are helping Manchester Council develop the deprived inner city areas. The Glazers do nothing for the community. I am sick of these bitter united fans obsessed with city, wise up you guys