MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, August 23, 2010: Manchester City's Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak (L) with Owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan sees his side take on Liverpool in his first ever Premiership match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fans question latest dubious Man City sponsorship – “English football is dead”

With Man City announcing a new sponsorship deal with the Abu Dhabi government, fans across the Premier League have questioned the legitimacy of their arrangement.

City are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, which is led by Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The Premier League champions have already seen a host of sponsorship deals agreed with brands in Abu Dhabi, including shirt sponsor Etihad Airways and official partners the Etisalat Group and Visit Abu Dhabi.

It is widely suspected that those deals are inflated by City’s close ties to the UAE, and this has come into light again following a new deal confirmed on Tuesday.

Emirates Palace, owned by the Abu Dhabi government, are now their Official Luxury Hotel Partner – or whatever that means – and fans have responded with scepticism.

Many took to social media on the announcement of the deal to note its convenience for a club that is already enjoying the benefits of a financial gulf.


Liverpool fans were among the most critical…


But fans of other clubs also joined in…


Including City supporters…

Journalist Tariq Panja, who regularly writes on the business of football and Premier League regulations, asked whether it would be the “first chance for new related party regulations to be tested.”

In December, the English top flight confirmed that they would require clubs to submit any sponsorship proposal worth over £1 million to them to determine whether it was to an ‘associated party’ transaction.

That City have already confirmed the Emirates Palace as a new partner suggests that the Premier League consider the deal legitimate.

But given their history – with an investigation into FFP breaches ongoing – there is every reason to suspect otherwise of the reigning champions.