New information from the hacker responsible for the ‘Football Leaks’ controversy has cast a deeper shade on Manchester City’s reign as Premier League champions.

Rui Pinto has handed over five hard drives filled with millions of documents to French and German authorities. These documents, Pinto claims, contain information that could be of “criminal relevancy” against the club.

Manchester City, the reigning champions, face 115 charges related to financial fair play (FFP) regulations.

These charges encompass a range of alleged violations, including the failure to provide accurate details of player and manager payments, non-compliance with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, breaches of the Premier League‘s FFP, and failure to cooperate with investigations. The club will face a hearing on these allegations later this year.

Pinto, a Portuguese national, has been under witness protection since 2020 after being found guilty of attempted extortion and unauthorized access to data.

Despite receiving a four-year suspended sentence from a Portuguese court last year, Pinto has continued his efforts to expose what he sees as wrongdoing in the football world. Speaking via video call at the OffShore-Alert Marbella Conference, Pinto detailed the extent of his revelations.

Whistleblower warns City of more trouble

“The Man City releases showed amounts of money being paid by the club that were not mentioned to the football authorities”, Pinto said. “These documents form part of the Premier League investigation into City. I have now handed five hard drives to French and German authorities with millions of documents; including more on City, and I have described what is on each. I am confident they will find criminal relevancy.”

“We have been approached by investigators to share information regarding Manchester City that has not been released before. We haven’t released the information yet. But we have a massive file of Manchester City-related documents that has yet to be released. The files will be published at some point; we cannot say when, but we will do it.”

Rui Pinto is the alleged whistleblower.
Rui Pinto is the alleged whistleblower.

Rui Pinto is the alleged whistleblower.

The Citizens’ recent success on the field, highlighted by winning the Premier League title for a record fourth consecutive season, stands in stark contrast to the legal battles they face off it.

The charges of financial misconduct have raised questions about the legality of their triumphs. The potential consequences are severe, ranging from significant fines to points deductions or even expulsion from the league.

The Premier League’s investigation is one of several legal hurdles Pep Guardiola’s side must navigate. The club are also involved in disputes over sponsorship deals and associated party transactions. This has attracted the attention of other top clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham, and Chelsea, who are closely monitoring the situation.

How this could affect City and Premier League

The ongoing investigation and the potential release of new documents could have far-reaching implications for City and the broader community. If found guilty, the club could face severe penalties. This includes substantial fines, points deductions, or even expulsion from the Premier League. Such outcomes would not only impact the club’s financial health but also their reputation and standing within the soccer world.

The Premier League have shown their commitment to enforcing financial regulations, as seen with the penalties imposed on Everton and Nottingham Forest for breaching Profit and Sustainability Rules. The two sides were docked a total of eight points last season for their infractions. The repercussions for Manchester City, given the scale and seriousness of the allegations, could be much more significant.

The revelations by Rui Pinto, who has gained access to thousands of City’s emails and financial documents, add another layer of complexity to the case.

These documents reportedly include details of former manager Roberto Mancini’s contract, image rights agreements involving players like Yaya Toure, and emails about the club’s sponsorship income. Pinto’s impending release of new documents could further bolster the Premier League’s case against Manchester City.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire.