David Gill, former Manchester United chief executive, has warned that clubs breaching financial fair play rules will come under close scrutiny in the coming months, reports The BusinessDesk.com.
Mr Gill, who left Old Trafford after 16 years as finance director and latterly CEO, is now a now a key figure within European football’s governing body, UEFA, and was speaking to business leaders at a dinner in Manchester organised by accountancy firm PwC and recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson.
He said the new Financial Fair Play rules were designed to protect the integrity of European and domestic competitions and are crucial to the long-term interests of football.
Without explicitly naming United’s nearest rivals Manchester City – which has been transformed over the last five years by the near £1bn investment of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour – Mr Gill said: “Tough investigations will be taking place over the next couple of months.
“In some cases we’re not talking about rich men owning clubs, but countries, and there will be work to do around related party transactions”.
This latter point is particularly pertinent to Manchester City, given its commercial relationship with Abu Dhabi owned, or related companies, including the Abu Dhabi Tourist Board and major club sponsor Etihad Airlines.
He paid tribute to his “friend” Sir Alex Ferguson, but laughed-off the Scot’s recent claim that he had told Gill to demand £150m from Real Madrid for star player Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sold for £80m.
“He (Sir Alex) is a great man, but he’s not always right.” he said.
He said in terms of global profile and popularity Manchester United punches way above its weight, and at heart it is : “a small business based on an industrial estate two-and-a-half miles outside the UK’s third-largest city.”
He reiterated his support for the club’s American owners the Glazer family, and said the club had been able to be run more effectively as a private business, rather than as a listed company, and the Glazers had “really added value” and overseen remarkable commercial growth of the business by “exploiting the brand on a global scale.”
While discussing on the impact of the Bosman Ruling on football – which allows freedom of movement after contracts expire – and the impact on player wages, Mr Gill said United striker Wayne Rooney new contract is not worth the reported £300,000 per week.
“While it’s not at that level, I think, it’s fair to say the Rooney family will not be wondering where the next holiday is coming from,” he added.