MANCHESTER CITY have been warned their controversial £400m sponsorship deal with Etihad is to be scrutinised by European chiefs Uefa.
Eyebrows were raised when Abu Dhabi-owned City announced the lucrative deal, which covers shirt branding and stadium naming rights, with the United Arab Emirates’ national carrier last month.
Critics believe it is above market value and therefore could allow City to circumvent Uefa’s tough new Financial Fair Play rules, although the club have disputed the reported £400m price.
The chairman of Uefa’s Financial Control Panel Jean-Luc Dehaene said: “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 OK’ if the contract is out of line.”
Admitting he had “some questions” when he heard of City’s Etihad deal, Dehaene added: “You know where the problems are and you know you will have to confirm them. But it would be dangerous if we take judgements without facts.”