Soccer

Are Manchester City’s titles tainted by Abu Dhabi ownership?

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I was having a spirited debate with a friend about our respective football clubs and he said City’s titles are “tainted by middle eastern oil.” I immediately knew this was an extremely loaded statement given what is going on in the world. It is extremely inappropriate to dismiss the Arab/Muslim City ownership as being dodgy foreigners who follow a religion we don’t understand, a culture we object to and a band of people hell bent on destroying western civilization while promoting their own way of life.

Of course none of this is true and only a small percentage of Islamo-fascists believe this. I don’t know why people have a problem with middle eastern oil when all of us fly on airplanes as often as possible and drive the latest cars. They have a commodity that everyone wants and they are rightfully supplying it. Also, this suspicion of what Arabs are doing with their money is uncalled for, when European, American and Asian Billionaires are busy parking their money in distant tax havens away from the prying eyes of their home governments. It seems like Arabs are taking their Billions and investing it in their own countries – Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar but also abroad buying soft power like football teams.

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Abu Dhabi has social problems – it has a ruling family like all Arab countries, it has draconian laws when compared to western countries: very little freedom of speech, no political opposition, human rights abuses of activists, exploitation of migrant workers, but the question is to what degree is Sheikh Mansour responsible for this? He is a member of the ruling elite and he runs the Abu Dhabi United Group – a holding company – which is partly owned by the Chinese – who own City Football Group. He is a deputy prime minister but does not have a direct line to the throne. No one is sure other than the ruling elite how much power the Sheikh wields in making social policy in Abu Dhabi or he could be insulated and only directed to manage the investment arm of the UAE, we don’t know.

But can we disregard the fact all major football clubs are owned by Billionaires? And even if the said Billionaire should invest a paltry sum in some questionable investment in Africa or another corrupt developing part of the world where people are being exploited should that Club’s fans also feel guilty? Should what the team is doing on the field be tainted? I don’t think so – I don’t think Chelsea fans should feel guilty about Roman’s money, or Liverpool fans of John Henry’s funds or Arsenal of Kroenke’s many holdings worldwide.

I can understand the frustration of rival fans when one team starts to dominate all competitions – we’ve all been there before, football is ultimately cyclical – no one team dominates forever, especially not in England. With money being spent freely any big club can hire a great manager and buy young promising players like City have done.

And for you rival fans tired of City sweeping trophies for the last 2 seasons – every time you put gallon of gas in your car think – I’m helping Manchester City buy a new striker!

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5 thoughts on “Are Manchester City’s titles tainted by Abu Dhabi ownership?

  1. Haha absolutely love the last line! Great read, very thought provoking. Unfortunately you cannot disassociate the owners background from City’s success but it is used at opportunistic times as a stick to beat City with.

  2. Dhendup says:

    Well written Sonam! Could feel your frustration pouring out as the recent accusations against the owners overshadow the success City have enjoyed these past 2 seasons.

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