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Sun 27 Feb 2011 11:46 AM

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Manchester City says player spending spree won’t last

Football club owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour has splashed $805m on buying up top players

Manchester City says player spending spree won’t last
Sheikh Mansour has spent more than £500m ($805m) on the team since acquiring it in September 2008

Manchester City, the
English soccer club owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said its
record-breaking player acquisition strategy is only a temporary measure to take
the team to the level of the sport’s elite.

Mansour has spent
more than £500m ($805m) on the team since acquiring it in September 2008 from
former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Most of that money has been
spent on revamping the team by buying players like Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and
Mario Balotelli.

The club’s accounts
for the year ended May 31, 2010, published by Companies House today, confirm
figures released by City in October, and show it lost £121.3m, 31 percent more
than a year earlier, on player salary and acquisition costs.

“It is safe to say
that player acquisitions on the scale we have seen in recent transfer windows
will no longer be required in the years ahead now that we have such a deep and
competitive squad,” Chief Executive Officer Garry Cook wrote in the foreword to
the accounts.

Still, the club has
spent millions since the accounts were filed. Dzeko joined for £27m in January,
while Balotelli, David Silva, James Milner, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng
signed in the summer off-season for more than £100m.

The spending was the
highest in England’s top division for the second straight year. City said in
the accounts it’s looking to improve its balance sheet ahead of new financial
rules established by European soccer’s governing body UEFA by expanding its
income to balance its spending.

It said revenue from
sponsors and partners grew 400 percent to £32.4m on the back of deals with the
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Etihad Airways and Etisalat. UEFA said it will
monitor all deals to ensure they’re at competitive prices and not inflated to
boost revenue figures.

Managed by Roberto
Mancini, City is in third place in the Premier League, behind Manchester United
and Arsenal. If it finishes in the top four it will play in the Champions
League for the first time in its history next season.

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