Claims that Manchester City concealed a payment to Jadon Sancho’s agent have been described as an “attempt to damage the club’s reputation”.
Manchester City reiterated their belief that there is an “organised and clear” attempt to “damage the club’s reputation” after allegations were made claiming they gave Jadon Sancho’s agent a contract to work as a scout to cover up a payment for his move from Watford.
German publication Der Spiegel claims to have seen documents from whistleblowers Football Leaks that show City paid Emeka Obasi £200,000 as part of the scouting contract to find players in south and central America.
Der Spiegel alleged this payment was actually in relation to Sancho’s move from Watford as a 14-year-old to circumvent FIFA rules that prevent agent fees being made in transfers involving minors.
It has also claimed to have seen an e-mail sent to Sancho’s father outlining what salary and bonuses he would receive once he turned professional. According to the report, a club lawyer later intervened stressing the letter was not an offer.
City said they would not reply to any reports stemming from purported hacked documents, while contending claims they failed to offer comment to Der Spiegel.
A statement from a City spokesperson read: “In relation to the story published this evening by Der Spiegel, and contrary to their assertion that Manchester City FC did not respond to their query – please see below statement which was sent to them earlier this week.
“You will have seen this statement before. However, it is important to use it in full, as each element is material, as we pointed out to Der Spiegel in our reply.
“‘We will not be providing any comment on out-of-context materials purported to have been hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people. The attempt to damage the Club’s reputation is organised and clear.'”
Last year, Der Spiegel alleged the Premier League champions flagrantly breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) laws.
The publication made claims against City in a series of articles, purportedly using information attained from Football Leaks, claiming the club topped up multi-million pound sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi companies using their owner’s fortune in order to meet UEFA’s FFP rules.
It was also alleged that City were cut a favourable FFP settlement when they were punished for overspending by UEFA in 2014, with the club releasing the same statement used in reply to the latest allegations.