Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, the Manchester City chairman, has launched a furious defence of the club’s spending and derided the head of Spain’s top tier for his criticism of their business model.
Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, said last week that City are damaging European football by driving up player prices with their “state-sponsored” cash reserves.
Tebas said that City, who he described along with Paris St-Germain as being run off “one off petrol-money, one off gas”, are inflating the market with their transfer spending.
But Al-Mubarak said it is “hypocritical” for the Spanish league to criticise the spending of English clubs and described it as a “clear attack” on the Premier League.
“He talks about how we distorted the market? There is a hypocrisy in this statement that is ironic,” Al-Mubarak told City TV in his end-of-season interview. “Number one, let’s look at the Spanish league, the time of breaking records on player acquisitions. I mean, who started that?
“Let’s go back to the world records, Figo, Zidane. These huge jumps in these transfers, where did they happen? You have to look back at the history of La Liga, a league dominated by two clubs, and Mr Tebas should look back at the history of that league and distortion that has happened throughout the ages.
“And then you look back at transfers. In the top 10 transfers of all time, Manchester City has not a single player in that, not a single one.”
City are facing the looming threat of a ban from the Champions League after an investigation into an alleged £60 million deception. Yves Leterme, the chairman of chief investigator of Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body, said earlier this year that City faced “the heaviest punishment” if the allegations against them were proven.
The body’s adjudicatory chamber is considering its sentence for the club, who have insisted they areconfident any sanctions will be overturned.
Al-Mubarak said he believes “quite comfortably” that City will prevail, provided the process is “judged on facts”. He said: “Am I uncomfortable? No. I respect regulatory bodies doing their job and any regulatory process that asks questions. We have to professionally respond which is what we have done.
“We are dealing with each of these entities as per the process, we have clear answers. I believe, quite comfortably, if the process is going to be judged on facts then unquestionably we will prevail. If it’s not about facts and it’s about other things, then it is a different conversation.”
On Tebas’ comments linking the wealth of City and PSG, Al-Mubarak added: “I think there’s something deeply wrong in bringing ethnicity into the conversation. This is just ugly. I think the way he is combining teams because of ethnicity. I find that very disturbing to be honest.”
The City chairman said there is a “certain level of jealousy” towards their success and insisted that attacks on the club should also be seen as attacks on the Premier League.
He added that those from other leagues are “bothered” by the dominance of English football in this season’s European competitions, with all four finalists in the Champions League and Europa League coming from England.
“Let’s not forget this is the best league in the world and if you look at this season, there is no better testament to this statement where the two European competitions, the Champions League and Europa League, the finals are being competed by English clubs.
“You have four Premier League teams in the two European finals and that’s a fact and that bothers a lot of people in many places. “We have the best league in the world, we have the most commercial league in the world, the most successful clubs in the world, economically, commercially in terms of global presence, and that is why this attack is not just on Manchester City, it is against this league. And I hope people start seeing that and start — I know people don’t want to defend Manchester City — but for God’s sake start defending this league.
“I will not accept for this club to be used as a diversionary tactic on poor investment decisions from other clubs. People make decisions, they’ve got to live by them. We’ve managed ourselves well and we will be judged by facts and facts alone.”