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The way Man City rose to be the global football empire (Part 3)

To control information, Man City media experts assess potential risks on every step of the way. They select partners, and when necessary, evaluate whether the contract value is large enough to risk.

In early 2014, Man City leaders met to sign a contract with the Arabtec construction company, based in Dubai. At that time, the Arabtec leader was Hasan Ismaik – the infamous owner of Munich 1860 Club. Man City asked the media group to sum up the potential risks if the two sides closed the contract.

Not long ago, The Guardian reported on the poor living conditions of migrant workers in Abu Dhabi. In 2009, the BBC also revealed how badly Arabtec treated its workers. This problem is not new to the Gulf state that enriches the deserts. Over the past 40 years, Abu Dhabi has employed many workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, building skyscrapers on barren ground.

Man City leaders ignored the warning, to receive seven million pounds a year from Arabtec. But, they came to an agreement on regional advertising contracts. Man City and Arabtec contracts are only published in Arab countries, Russia and Turkey – where democracy and human rights are not necessarily a priority.

To ensure Man City also has a part in the profit pie named football, the leader set the unprecedented model: A global empire. Owning a team is not enough. The global team network will be more profitable, and Man City has understood this since 2009.

That year, Roberto Mancini signed two contracts at the same time: one is Man City coach, the other is Al Jazira adviser – the leading UAE team. Mansour Al Nahyan is the boss of both teams. The value of the contract will surprise many: Mancini receives a higher salary from Al Jazira than from Man City. The Premier League club pays £ 1.45 million a year, while the Gulf club pays £ 1.75 million for Mancini.

“We have to help Al Jazira with some payments,” a Man City director wrote to his associates in September 2011. “We will send money to ADUG, then ADUG will transfer to Al Jazira, with payment instructions.” ADUG is Abu Dhabi United Group – the group that owns Man City. Its owner is also Mansour. ADUG is considered the head of Man City’s campaign against the Financial Fair Law.