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"They think we should deny the public context" - Rob Harris on Manchester City

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

09:14 20 May 2019

On Sunday, Manchester City made history as the first men’s team to win the domestic treble after clinching the FA Cup, but, after the trophy was hoisted and the champagne shook, Pep Guardiola was once again forced to face questions over City’s alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play.

Associated Press journalist Rob Harris drew a furious reaction from Guardiola when he queried whether the Man City boss had ever received payment from any other clubs or companies connected to Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour or the Abu Dhabi United Group.

The question was in response to allegedly leaked documents obtained by German paper Der Spiegel which allege that former Man City manager, Roberto Mancini, received payments from other companies associated with Sheikh Mansour in addition to his salary from Man City.

The payment of salaries from sources outside of the club would allow City to lower the appearance of their costs hence making them less likely to fall foul of Financial Fair Play rules and face sanctions.

Guardiola, instead of answering the question, rhetorically and irately asked another in response: "Honestly, do you think I deserve to have this type of question, the day we won the treble, did I receive money? Are you accusing me of receiving money?"

Rob Harris, the Associated Press journalist who asked Pep Guardiola the question, joined us on Monday’s OTB AM and explained that the question was first posed to Manchester City in November and still there has been no answer from the club.

Harris added that the club, by not answering these questions themselves, were putting Guardiola in the unfair position of having to deal with them despite all his achievements on the pitch.

“In some ways in recent months its been unfair by the club to put Guardiola as the man to answer these questions when he isn't on the board of directors to be able to answer these questions on the financial state of the club”, Harris said.

“I don't really think its very satisfactory to hear from Guardiola that he has been assured from the club that everything is okay. I think we should actually hear from a member of the board.”

Harris also recorded a video of a Manchester City fan who made his way to the press box after the game and launched a profanity-ridden rant arguing that the press were not fairly reporting on Manchester City’s achievements.

“The City fans are excessively tribalist in defending their ownership”, Harris said, continuing: “particularly any reporting on Financial Fair Play they see as an agenda or an attack against the club when actually we are doing our job.”

“They think we, as journalists, should deny the public the context around the club and that we should only acclaim performances on the pitch, which of course has been an incredible achievement by the players.”

“[The press are] just providing what is necessary context by saying that these investigations are going on into the club and to not mention that would be a disservice to the context.”   

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