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FIFA responds to Football Leaks' allegation

FIFA responds to claims Infantino helped PSG, Man City avoid severe FFP penalties

November 3, 2018 By Ali M.
Football's world governing body president reportedly held secret discussions with the Premier League and Ligue 1 giants to help them

Football Leaks have struck again, dropping new bombshell reports on the inner dealings of football. In one, they claimed that Europe's elites have secretly discussed plans to start a breakaway Super League in 2021. Furthermore, they have also accused Gianni Infantino of helping both Man City and PSG escape severe FFP punishment four years ago.

Back in 2014, UEFA came after the Premier League and Ligue 1 giants for the irregularities in their spending and finances. According to the report, with the help of their Abu Dhabi and Qatari owners respectively, $5.1BN has been injected into the budgets of the two teams through over-estimated sponsorship deals.

This is a direct breach of Financial Fair Play rules which state a team cannot spend more than they earn, with a deficit of only 30 million euros, which is worth roughly $34M today, being permitted over the span of three seasons. When UEFA auditors went through their books, many feared the worse, with expulsion from the Champions League having been a possible repercussion.

The two teams were only slapped with $82M fines, with the Citizens only coughing up a third of that fee. Football Leaks claim things could have been different had the FIFA president not intervened.

Infantino, who was UEFA's general secretary back then, is accused of overstepping his authority to help strike a favorable deal with the English and French sides despite the independent Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) holding jurisdiction over these matters. The whistle-blowing outlet (via Der Spiegel) has publicized a leaked message between City chief executive Ferran Soriano and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak which appears to incriminate Gianni.

“I had a good telephone call with Gianni Infantino where we agreed how to brief the lawyers (‘to negotiate a settlement that is more than a warning and can be seen as effective/dissuasive but does not affect dramatically MCFC business’),” the correspondence read.

However, the organization has struck back in defense of their president. They state in a lengthy official statement that information has been ignored and distorted in a "deliberate attempt to discredit FIFA and to mislead their readers".

"It seems obvious from the “reporting” carried out in some media outlets that there is only one particular aim : an attempt to undermine the new leadership of FIFA and, in particular, the President, Gianni Infantino, and the Secretary General, Fatma Samoura."

They added: "For the avoidance of doubt, it also deserves to be pointed out that NONE of the “reports” contains anything which would even remotely amount to a violation of any law, statute or regulation. This is, beyond question, an immeasurable improvement on the past and something which FIFA is fully committed to going forward."

The Citizens have refused to comment on this matter, labellng it as "out of context materials purportedly hacked or stolen". Meanwhile, Les Parisiens have denied the claims, insisting that they always comply with UEFA regulations.

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