U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 51 mins

Pep Guardiola denies allegations Manchester City broke financial laws: 'We are not guilty and they have to prove it'

Sam Wallace
Pep Guardiola became the first manager to win a domestic treble in England - AFP

Pep Guardiola said that Manchester City had done nothing to break the financial laws governing football on the day that his team sealed an unprecedented treble of the three domestic cups with a record-equalling 6-0 victory over Watford in the FA Cup final.

Having blitzed Watford with four goals after half-time Guardiola said that he had received personal assurances from chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, the key link with Abu Dhabi owner Sheikh Mansour, as well as Ferran Soriano, the chief executive. The club could face a one-year Champions League ban from Uefa following allegations that they broke financial fair play rules by inflating the value of sponsorship contracts from Abu Dhabi commercial partners.

They also face separate investigations from the Premier League, Fifa and the Football Association, in addition to the one by Uefa.

Guardiola said: “Well, I said yesterday we are not guilty. I said yesterday in the press conference, we are not guilty and they [Uefa] have to prove it. When I say this club make a step forward with Sheikh Mansour? Definitely. You can’t do it without top players. Definitely. Money helps buy players that you need.

 “I listen to my chairman, my CEO, they give me arguments, and I trust them. When they tell me we did absolutely follow the rules, I'm sorry, I believe them.” The City manager did little to disguise his fury at being asked in his post-match press conference whether his wage was supplemented by other institutions in Abu Dhabi, as was alleged about one of his predecessors, Roberto Mancini.

It was alleged by the German magazine Der Spiegel, who based claims on information obtained by the website Football Leaks, that Mancini was paid by City and also as a consultant for the Abu Dhabi-based Al Jazira Sports and Cultural Club in order to get around Uefa FFP restrictions. City deny any wrongdoing.

Pep Guardiola and his coaching staff Credit: REUTERS

In response, Guardiola said to the reporter who asked him: “Do you know the question you're asking me, if I ever received money for another situation? Right now, today? Honestly, do you think I deserve to have this type of question, on the day we won the treble - if I received money from other situations? Are you accusing me? Oh man.”

His captain Vincent Kompany had earlier declared City as currently “the best in the world” after a margin of victory that equalled the record for an FA Cup final, dating back to Bury’s 6-0 win over Derby County in 1903. “What a club, what a privilege," Kompany told BBC Sport. “It started with the manager, he sets the standard at the start of the season and said we had to go back-to-back [Premier League titles]. It's the best team in the world for me. To set such a high standard for so long. Not just for one year but two years running now."

Guardiola said it was among his greatest achievements as a manager, and more difficult than winning the Champions League. “For ten months in all competitions no incredible team [in history] have done it [win the domestic treble] in this country. To be the first it means we were consistent every day. I love the Champions League but to do this is more difficult. For the organisation and all the people working here, especially the players – they deserve all the big compliments. It is not easy. You have one bad night [in the Cup] and you are out.”

The Watford manager Javi Gracia said that it had been a difficult afternoon for his players but refused to point the finger of blame. “Today we have lost. Today, City were better than us, much better but always there are [decisive] moments in games. We started well. We created the best chance for Roberto Pereyra and you need to score that if you want to have some chance in the game.

“Losing 6-0 is difficult to explain. I was happy with the first part of the game. After that we are competing against City and if you let them have space then they show their quality. They have very good players. I am very proud of my team. I am very proud of my supporters. All of our supporters knew how difficult it would be. They helped us to the end.”