Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has mocked Manchester City over their ban from all UEFA competitions for two seasons due to serious breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.
Wenger has always condemned City for their high spending and accused them of ‘financial doping’ when they bought some of his star players when he was the Gunners manager. FIFA’s chief of global football development was critical of City when they signed Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, and Bacary Sagna.
Speaking at the Laureus Sports Awards gala on Monday, the Frenchman said since Sheikh Mansour took over City in 2008, they were allowed to spend big on transfers and get away with it at the time.
“They bought all my players. The sport is trying to make the rules respected. If there is no respect for them, it is not a real sport.”
The former manager added that City knew they had to follow the rules when signing players, especially when playing in a competition such as the Champions League. He added that the top teams in the top leagues are successful due to the amount of money clubs spend’ and want teams to show more respect for the rules by competing fairly.
He said: ”My belief is that sport is about trying to win by respecting the rules. We celebrate the best in every sport – but only if we know the winners respect the rules.
”If there is no respect then it’s not a real sport. The table is always linked to the amount of money clubs spend on players.”
Wenger also called for the restrictions on free-spending to stop teams from having too much power. He, however, asked UEFA to punish City if they are guilty to have broken any rules and regulations.
The Frenchman said: “I was always in favour of financial control on clubs and income that is not natural. I am also convinced that the rules still have to evolve into something better – but at the moment they are what they are.
“If it is proven that this has been done on purpose then City cannot go unpunished. I don’t know the case well enough to say what kind of punishment has to be made.”
Wenger said he doesn’t know if City’s Premier League titles to be stripped but expressed fears that the gap between the big and smaller clubs has become wider.
He said: “I don’t know if it is planned to take City’s title away because I don’t know the rules well enough.
“But the difference between the big clubs and the smaller clubs has become bigger – and we can now predict with accuracy what is going to happen in every league.”