City Football Group: Globalisation and Conflicts of Interest

It seems that every week there is a new rumour
concerning the City Football Group and who they will purchase next. One week it’s a team
in France, next it is China. What is for sure is that CFG, of which Manchester City is the
biggest team, is quietly changing the way football is run. City Football Group was founded in January
2013 as a holding company for its sports properties, owned and operated by the Abu Dhabi United
Group. That, in turn, is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, one of the most powerful member’s
of the Abu Dhabi royal family in the United Arab Emirates. CFG owns 100 per cent of Manchester City and
Melbourne City FC, the group owns 20 per cent of Japanese club Yokohama F Marinos and owns
80 per cent of NYCFC. The other 20 per cent is held by Yankee Global Enterprises, the
American owners of the iconic New York Yankees baseball team, controlled by the family of
George Steinbrenner. Last year CFG added two more properties; Club Atlético Torque in
Uruguay and, most controversially, a 44.3% share in the Spanish club Girona. An identical
44.3% share was owned by Pere Guardiola, Pep’s brother. Manchester City Women, alongside partnerships
with clubs and academies across the world, from Ghana to Denmark, also come under CFG’s
umbrella, as do a number of companies offering marketing and other services. The aim, according
to chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak, is to spread the City brand on a global stage. “We have
an ambition as a football group to have an organisation that is global and that will
have multiple clubs as part of it,” Mubarak cold the club’s in-house TV channel, CityTV. The clubs have been re-branded to fit parent
club Manchester City’s look and feel. Sometimes sky blue shirts are introduced, sometimes
badges are redesigned, sometimes the name of the club is changed altogether. As happened
in 2014 when the group bought Melbourne Heart and controversially changed its name to Melbourne
City FC. Business deals have followed connected to the Abu Dhabi royal family. Manchester
City famously signed a ten year, £400 million sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways, the
national carrier of United Arab Emirates. Given the huge increase from any previous
sponsorship deal – and the fact that the company is effectively run by one of Sheikh
Mansour’s close relatives, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the deal caught the attention
of UEFA, who suspected that the deal didn’t represent a fair market rate. In the end UEFA
approved the sponsorship deal, but fined the club a record £49 million for its lavish
spending. Those sponsorship deals have continued across
the globe. Etihad signed a shirt sponsorship deal with NYCFC and also appears on the front
of the Melbourne City FC’s shirts. A massive new kit deal was just signed with Puma which
would apply to all CSG teams, except NYCFC, who are obliged to wear Adidas due to a tie
up with MLS. These globalised commercial deals – alongside
booming TV rights revenue – and the shifting of some costly salaries from City on to its
group, has helped to make Manchester City profitable, something that seemed impossible
a few years ago given the £1 billion plus spent on transfers since Sheikh Mansour bought
the club from deposed Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2008. Last year City
announced that they had made a profit for a third year running, of just over £1 million
in 2016-17. There was also record breaking revenue of close to £473.4million, placing
City in the financial elite of world football. And yet not all is rosy with how CFG operates,
with its globalised stable of clubs raising issues about conflict of interests and controversy
surrounding the movement of players between teams with the group. When Spain international
David Villa signed for NYCFC, he first went to Melbourne City FC for a month to gain match
sharpness before being shipped back to New York for the start of of the season. And then
there was the issue of Frank Lampard, signed to NYCFC to much fanfare. Instead, he went
on loan to Manchester City. CFG later said the NYCFC announcement had been a mistake,
but one that had far-reaching consequences. The affair had shone a light on City Football
Group, who were creating a network of clubs where players and staff might be interchangeable,
potentially circumventing local transfer rules and creating all sorts of potential conflicts
of interest. There had long been worries about owners taking control of multiple clubs but
this was clearly a structure UEFA and other governing bodies weren’t prepared for. At the start of 2016 the issue came up again,
in relation to the signing of 23 year old Australian midfielder Anthony Caceres. City
paid his club the Central Coast Mariners the A$325,000 fee and promptly loaned him to Melbourne
City FC. The move incensed Melbourne City’s rivals as cash transfers between clubs are
banned in the A League. The head of Sydney FC, Tony Pignata tweeted that he believed
“Caceres to City is wrong. How can FFA allow this? There are no transfers between A-League
clubs, yet it seems you can bypass.” It left the the Football Federation Australia
scrambling to close the loophole before it happened again. His loan deal was extended
for another season, before being loaned to Al Wasl in the UAE. He has now been loaned
again to Melbourne City FC. There is perhaps another issue other than
clever financial tricks to keep City and its group afloat and in profit: the homogenisation
of global football culture. Mubarak has stated that the four clubs are just the start. “I
would say when the opportunity arises – and we are looking at opportunities – you can
expect us to add to the number of clubs we have already within the organisation,” he
told CityTV. One next stop is likely to be China. Premier
Xi Jinping, the man at the heart of China’s current football revolution, visited City’s
training ground in 2015. A few months later, City Football Group sold a 13 per cent stake
of the company to China Media Capital and CITIC Capital for close to $400 million, valuing
the club at an astonishing $3 billion. CMC was founded by Li Ruigang, often referred
to as the “Rupert Murdoch” of China. He is now a member of the CFG board. Khaldoon
al Mubarak said the move would “leverage the incredible potential that exists in China”. Yet some worry what this model – super imposing
a uniform club culture around the world — will do for indigenous grass roots football. “One
danger is foreign clubs who see the opportunities in China actually doing something they would
never do in their own market. Branding locally,” said Rowan Simons, author of Bamboo Goalposts,
a book about football’s turbulent history in China. “In the Beijing grass roots league
you’d have Barcelona teams 1,2,3, where the branding goes all the way down and you won’t
have any organic teams with their own identity… What a horrible world it would be if we one
day we would see Barcelona Beijing v Manchester City Beijing FC.” The model of borderless super brand football
groups is likely to be replicated elsewhere, given the success so far of City Football
Group as well as companies like Red Bull and the Pozzo family. Even the likes of Leicester
City’s owner has dipped his toe in to owning a club in Belgium’s second division as are
AS Monaco. Qatar’s Aspire Academy has also purchased clubs in Belgium and Spain. UEFA’s regulations aren’t really built for
this new form of ownership structure, which will become much more prevalent as the richest
clubs get even richer. Europe’s governing body was faced with such a problem when Red
Bull Salzburg in Austria and RB Leipzig in Germany both qualified, despite both being
connected to the parent company of Red Bull. The current rules ban the same owner having
two teams in the same competition for the sake of integrity. But UEFA’s Club Financial
Control Body approved both team’s appearances. The future of club football, it seems, is

100 thoughts on “City Football Group: Globalisation and Conflicts of Interest

  1. there's a HUGE misunderstanding about beijing "grassroots league". barca 1,2 and 3 are just football teams with kids from barca's football school in china. they don't compete against pro teams in chinese super league because …well, you guessed it right …. they're just KIDS. the same goes for barca B. in spanish football they can go as high as segunda division (1 level below la liga) and that's it. they won't go higher. also barca 1,2 & 3 in china are made of nothing, very DIFFERENT compared to city who change already exist clubs' identity like man city (logo), melbourne heart and new york city. ICYMI, clubs like real madrid and barca don't sell stock, so they are not owned by certain individuals/groups. ever wonder why madrid and barca have presidents instead of owner ? this video was accurate at first but the ending was over generalization which is misleading. thumb down for that …

  2. The homogenisation is the big concern for me. Big money has been really ruining football for a long time now & it only looks like getting worse.

  3. Whole pep family are fraud …Arab destroying football.if they r willing to spend so much money how can their own country be so shit…SOUDI was the worst country in this World Cup…

  4. Good thing in MLS there is such a thing as salary cap otherwise with all the money they have NYCFC could always be Champions. Maybe other competitors would be RBNY. It would be like La Liga with only 2 teams existing that you know it is either or and who's turn it is to be champions.

  5. Football used to be local fans supporting local teams, and the players of those teams being loyal to their team.

    Now football clubs are businesses and corporations. Owners only care about money making, and most players are mercenaries.

    Feeder teams are bad, and club groupings like this are even worse.

  6. UEFA's corruption ensures that this model will only continue to grow as the richest clubs get richer and richer. The new champions league format including the massive €585m coefficient money pool distribution scam will make it harder and harder for teams outside the top elite to even compete. Money is certainly ruining football.

  7. A fantastic video which makes us to know how Manchester City has been spoiling the sport for the past 10 years!!!Until a men's football authority would inspect and charge them for their overspending amounts and bribing the officials to win and draw a game and to buy a trophy,the Premier League in common would be the most boring league in the world together with some of the Asian leagues!!!

  8. So the A league can't do transfers. How do they sign players then? it's fair to say ambitious owners who put their hand in their pocket are the new super teams. City are beyond ridiculous now. There's no limit to what they can spend. Chelsea started it but there's a few teams now and clearly their morals and perspective of the rules doesn't stop them and it's pretty disgusting. Great teams like Arsenal, Newcastle and Leeds fall with bad ownership and these mediocre teams become a cheap entry for them to show how wealthy they really are. None of it stems from supporting the team or choosing a team who have a large following

  9. Hey Tifo Football, I have a video recommendation: The Aspire Academy, how it works and so on, I think that would be very interesting! amazing content, keep up the good work!

  10. In the video, when it says that Man City are making profits, partly due to to shifting a chunk of their wage bill to City Football Group, does that mean that they're making a profit in pure business accounting terms as well as in FFP rules? I'm asking because I thought that FFP rules wouldn't allow that type of shift of wages to the City Football group to affect the FFP accounting style.

  11. City fan here Hate CFG Utter trash, CIty is my club fuck Melbourne New York and all other teams, i ave no affiliation to them. Modern football at it's worse.

  12. Globalization. Commoditize everything.

    What they're really selling is the McDonalds of group/tribal identity. But hey, people are buying, for now at least.

  13. The football business is growing and UEFA is not prepared for it. All they can do is open an investigation that ends up with nothing. In the near future there will be several oligopolies that control all of the big clubs in the world.

  14. I think it's a positive tbh, has gave plenty of players opportunity however don't agree on the whole "man city Beijing" but clubs with good links is positive Imo

  15. U dont support clubs anymore u support a business now. How can i even support a club when every year theres a new coach and a brand new squad. Sport was about supporting clubs that represents your area. NoW spOrts is about supporting your favourite corporation

  16. Should get a share in a football league team so young players who sit in the reserves can experience English football. Also if they got a team near Manchester the lower league club could use the training facilities

  17. Everyone want to see fairness. No one wants illegal stuff going on, or being connected with the club they support.
    What the City Group has done is invent something. They've invented a company that owns more than one club and where all the clubs profit from a communal intelligence. Talking about something and making dubious claims does not make something wrong. The various footballing bodies can open all doors to see what the City Groups are doing. If they find anything that is hidden and that is illegal then I'm sure laws will be applied that stop the group from gaining unfair advantage. And I'm sure the CG would be more than happy to co operate in every way possible.
    When only one side of an issue is addressed then it can hardly be taken as truth or fact.
    It's a bit like saying that someone that has bought 5 or 6 house's along the street you live on is wrong, and then trying to present a case that suggests something bad has to come of it or that something dodgy must be going on.
    Surely you have to also look at potential benefit's that may come about, such as improved housing or the area becoming more popular & well run or issues that my improve the value of local properties.
    As most of these half baked video's this one has jumped on a very wobbly band wagon simply to have a dig at something with negativity and conveiniently avoid any possible positives.
    The City group works with all the club's it owns in order to create a good think not a bad one. Let's be realistic, how can making people unhappy be expected expect to work and bring about positive conditions for a group.
    Tifo Football. All you've produced here is ugly negative propaganda towards something & without looking at both sides of the road.
    Selective argument usually come from those with an agenda or bias.
    This is the simple, yet totally honest truth.

  18. I don't know why so called fans bemoan this sort of thing. None of the owners are in it today but to make money or to provide them with a public profile so they have a bolt-hole to retreat to if things get a bit sticky where their ill-gotten gains came from. Because lets face it you don't become a billionaire without being as ruthless and crooked as they come.

    "Fans" know this, many complain about it….but NONE of what has been detailed in the video would happen if they turned their back on the game for a year or two. No publicity, no talk about revenue streams etc. It is the "fans" who are killing the game and their continuing support of it only makes the death-spiral its in all the more certain it reaches its logical conclusion.

    Its up to them, either they want a competitive sport or an entertainment business where both the sporting and competitive elements, already deeply questionable, have disappeared altogether.

  19. It's important to recognise with the introduction of sister clubs players have opportunities they mightn't have had otherwise, examples of this are players such as Mooy and Arzani who's international recognition became much greater once their name was attached to the city group, and had an easier passage to bigger league's and clubs due to city's aid

  20. I don't see a problem with mega clubs setting up feeder clubs in other countries, it'll improve football as a whole, coaches can grit their teeth in lesser leagues before taking on big clubs, this will help the feeder clubs players develop and in so doing increase the quality of the national sides.

    If man city bought my local pro team cork city it would offer cork city academy players the opportunity to be noticed and go to play in a better league making our national side stronger..

    Im glad after Messi retires I wouldve enjoyed the best football the world has to offer
    not gonna waste time in a sport that got the life sucked out of it

  22. I’m surprised city football group and Red Bull hasn’t try buying a team in Mexico or Brazil to show off the brand cause they are huge soccer markets

  23. This was the brainchild of Ferran Soriano. He wanted to do this when he was at Barcelona but he didn't get his way. He sees it as his answer to the revolutionary commercialisation Man Utd spearheaded in the early 90's, who left the Spanish giants behind until more recent times when Soriano implemented the 'Utd model' upon arriving at Barca

  24. City founding new clubs in different continents, like NYCFC, is something I support. Not much of a fan of taking over existing clubs tho.

  25. Go to der Spiegel Online and read about how the president of FIFA when he was number two at UEFA gutted Financial Fair play rules, In service to these people! It is criminal.

  26. Soon football won't be a sport for working class people and local teams, but big corporations and wealthy individuals looking to own empires.

  27. Can you do one on how Red Bull does operations with their football clubs? RBNY, RB Leipzig, and RB Salzburg are notable, though not quite as big.

  28. I wish they would have bought Arsenal and made Arsenal Football Group.

    Then I wouldn't have to sit here and watch us be the 6th best team in England.

  29. Stop making videos about Man City.
    Manchester United, Chelsea, PSG, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig are all same

  30. They've got to stop this before teams use other league teams to develop their players and potentially increase their value, it will ruin the integrity of the footballing leagues. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where city buy a player for £20m in 2019, sell him to owned club 'X' in France the same season, who develop the player, club 'X' have success, the player is bought back, thus costing club 'X' nothing, city remove outgoings from their 2019 season immediately, and then keep him, or sell him for a huge profit, maybe even to one of their other teams! So in effect, whenever one of their teams is short of cash, they simply sell a player to one of their other teams and shove around wooden dollars!

    Another way to look at it is if team 'A' spends £100m with team 'B', but then team 'B' spends £100m with team 'A', both teams have got something, but in theory for nothing.

  31. I understand the fears of those who are opposing these changes in football. The issue with Caceres in Australia is a complete disregard for local laws, something no groups of people will allow, and something that should be punished. But I believe that the fears surrounding the destruction of local football, is one that is somewhat over emphasized.

    Firstly, in any area of human endeavor, there is a dominant culture. But these dominant cultures come to dominate and propagate themselves, firstly because of the influence of those who espouse them (British, US and Roman cultures and their effect on lifestyle, language etc) and then functionality/efficiency (I'm African and eating with a fork, knife and/or spoon is definitely more functional and gives more utility than eating with my hands in most cases). This is why Western Europe's culture is completely in charge in most parts of the globe at the moment, they were the wealthiest, most innovative of all groups of people for an extended period of time.

    So how does this affect football? The main issue of eroding local teams due to dominant foreign brands seem interesting. Apart from us asking how this football force is taking over (Wealth from oil and trading surpluses, combined with footballing excellence in Spain and England), the other question is what is local football?.

    Maybe for a 1st world nation where a football industry is well established and a few clubs with history tied to their surroundings provide a more rewarding experience for locals who might hold onto these teams for obvious reasons, but I'm Nigerian (a 3rd world nation), firstly, our football industry has never really matured to allow our local clubs to become self-sustaining, or even relevant in our local affairs. We are more tied to these foreign brands. Also, these local clubs don't provide much opportunities for anyone associated with them. We wish all these wonderful local talents can be in a system where they can have some hope of just eating from their primary talent.

    I see what superbrands like Barcelona and Real Madrid are doing to Spanish football or with feeder teams from other countries. Yes smaller clubs complain, but the football education given to the tapped youngsters like Messi who leave home at pre-teen years, but get training to be world beaters, or at least compete rigorously in world football, is something to consider. And these superclubs have more infrastructure to get the players to a level where they can actually compete globally.

    That's been my story with 3rd world nations (at least mine). The foreign brands that come here, and pick some few, and give them the knowledge they have, turn those few into superstars and create a route for millions to escape or at least pursue success outside the crazy alternative systems we have in 3rd world countries. And this isn't only with football, it happens in every industry, your safest most secure path to sustainable success and financial freedom is to work with a stable multinational.

    So yes Barcelona Beijing might not be as original as Beijing FC, but before we criticize, lets know how the people on the ground really feel about it. And I'm not talking about the football federation members, or the football club owners (they are usually corrupt agents or slave drivers, or some local businessman using the club for clout, at least in my country), but the people on the ground, the kid who knows all he wants to do is play soccer, and if UAE dollars can give him economic security while he lives his dream, he may be better served.

  32. I personally think there’s a lot of good that comes from this sort of network; if you’re a player that gets in, they’re gonna find you a career somewhere where you can fit in, and if you’re young and develop well they’ll sell you on to brighter pastures while helping themselves meet the ridiculous FFP regulations the old elite lobbied for. It also is a chance to bring attention and money to places that may need it and otherwise may not have gotten it, and you can’t tell me Girona aren’t appreciating the players city have loaned over- especially after beating Madrid this morning.

  33. The only thing that separates this business model from the Pozzo family's Udinese model, is the fact that the latter weren't born on pools of petrol. City Management Group has invented nothing. Neither have the Pozzos. In my view all it does is create antipathy towards Man City and all the affiliated clubs surrounding it.

  34. Sheikh mansur owned this club so he can spend his own money. What's the problem?
    This FFP is a total shit.

  35. If they're not really making any profit, then eventually it will have to end. One day, whether it's Sheikh Mansour or one of his children who inherits the club – one day they will get bored of it and want to start seeing a real return on investment.

    Let's see how much money is spent on transfers then.

  36. Yeah weren’t Red Bull the first company to do this anyway? As a city fan I am scared at the homogenisation of football from what the city group are doing has in store for the future of football. I hope UEFA and FIFA at large can come together and stop it

  37. There's an annoying sound in the audio/music that sounds like someone clicking a mouse every two seconds. Grinds on me lol But as usual, you guys are the best at what you do and another top notch video.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *