Mourinho offers cryptic response to Man City Financial Fair Play claims

Jose Mourinho was in cryptic mood when asked about allegations relating to Manchester City and Financial Fair Play.

The Premier League champions, who take on Mourinho’s Manchester United in the derby this weekend, stand accused of misleading UEFA in a bid to avoid FFP penalties.

German newspaper Der Spiegel claims to have seen leaked internal documents showing that City owner Sheik Mansour bulked up ‘sponsorship’ deals with his own cash.

UEFA found City had breached FFP rules in 2014 and the two parties reached a settlement, with City paying a £49million fine – £32million of which was suspended – while their Champions League squad was reduced for 2014-15.

Der Spiegel called that settlement “weak” and claims UEFA “wasn’t even entirely aware of the degree to which it had been deceived”.

City have refused to comment and said the documents may have been obtained illegally, as well as stating it is an ‘organised and clear’ attempt to damage the club’s reputation.

But Mourinho resisted the opportunity to have his say on City’s finances, having previously been open about the difficulty of keeping up with the spending at the Etihad.

“I have some thoughts from a few years ago,” the Portuguese told a press conference ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Juventus.

“But I’ll keep those thoughts to myself.”

That was rather different to what Mourinho said back in 2017 on the subject of FFP.

Back then he claimed: "The FFP authorities, they have big work to do. Big work to do, because probably there are some strategies of disguise but I have to believe that the FFP [authorities] are going to have difficult work to do."

City counterpart Pep Guardiola addressed the issue on Tuesday, saying: “Of course I trust the club and what they have done. Of course we want to follow the rules.

"UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League do what they have to do. Believe me, I’m completely honest. I don’t know what happened, I’m a manager, focussed on the pitch, the locker room.

“I am a manager. I’m completely out of how we handle this situation. I’m part of the club, I support the club. We want to do what we have to do in terms of the rules.”

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