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Is Mourinho Right To Take Shot At Man City Finances?

ChelseavMCJose Mourinho has tuned up the heat ahead of Monday’s battle of the billionaires when Chelsea meet Manchester City in a battle between two of the Premier League’s top three teams.

On Saturday night Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho accused some unnamed clubs of ‘dodgy FFP’ saying:

‘There are clubs that are following exactly the project of Financial Fair Play and there are other clubs doing it in a dodgy way,’ said Mourinho.

‘For me, that is very clear. I don’t say the clubs — that is not my job. If I was a journalist interested in football it would be something interesting to do and not difficult to do.

‘But that is when Financial Fair Play, the name, the meaning, has to be fair. Not dodgy Financial Fair Play. Because if it is dodgy, take out the fair and call it dodgy Financial Fair Play.’

Mourinho’s comments came just days after Manchester City’s PR department was out in full force touting that the Premier League leaders had record annual revenue of £271m last season and had almost halved their losses for second consecutive year.

But as usual City’s PR does not tell the full story. City’t top line revenue growth is impressive, only Man United generate more revenue than City, but the teams wage bill it spiraling out of control.

Last season, City’s wage bill was £233.1m, a massive 86% of revenue. No team can be financially sustainable with a wage bill that take up 86% of revenue.

Besides unsubstainable wage growth, I cannot see how City will meet Uefa’s FFP rules will are supposed to limit losses for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons combined to £37m. With the £51.6m loss that City just announced, they have lost £149.5m over two years.

Man City fans will point out that perhaps ‘exempt’ as much as £110m of those losses to meet FFP requirements. But the other cloud on the horizon is the rapid growth in City’s commercial revenues due to partnerships with Abu Dhabi companies. Included in the club’s turnover was £47m from selling “intellectual property”, including £22m-worth to related City companies. There was no notation in City’s released financial results as to what these were transitions were for.

So was Mourinho right to point the finger at City, especially since it was Roman Abramovich’s billions that turned Chelsea into a European powerhouse. But Chelsea appear to to be at least trying to meet FFP regulations. Even in the January transfer window, Chelsea were the biggest spenders in Europe with almost £47m spent on new players. But the sale of Mata and de Bruyne meant Chelsea actually made a profit in the transfer market.

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