Man City denies $100m US franchise report

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Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City, the English Premier League team which last week reported a net loss of GBP£97.9m (US$157.9m) for the 2011-12 season, has denied reports it is close to buying a major US$100m football franchise in the US.

The reigning Premier League champions, owned by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, was reported to be set to be sign a contract for a Major League Soccer franchise to set up a new team based in the New York borough of Queens, Bloomberg said, citing three unnamed sources.

The deal would see the new side named New York City Football Club and executives were also said to have made contact with former LA Galaxy and England star David Beckham in order to take up a role, the report added.

While Bloomberg added that the contracts with US officials had yet to be signed, a club spokesperson denied there was any truth in the report. “Manchester City are not buying an MLS club,” the club said in a brief statement to British news outlets.

Last week, club officials reported a net loss of GBP£97.9m (US$157.9m) in 2011-12, down from GBP£197.5m in the previous season.

This was on the back of annual revenue breaking the GBP£200m threshold for the first time in the club’s history - achieving annual revenues of GBP£231.1m in 2011-12.

The figures were part of the club's annual report which highlighted "the tangible and positive impact of four years of strategic investment in all operations" since the acquisition of the club by Sheikh Mansour in September 2008.

In the report, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak called the City Football Academy project "the most significant current initiative to secure the long-term sustainability of the club’s football operations".

He said the capital base of the club has also been strengthened through the issuing of GBP£169m in new equity during the year, avoiding debt based funding and continuing to ensure Manchester City is "virtually debt free".

Sheikh Mansour bought the Manchester club in 2008 and has invested nearly US$1bn to help lead it to honours including the FA Cup and the Premier League title.

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