Premier League news

Man City owners "using club as vehicle"

July 31, 2013
By ESPN staff

Manchester City's owners have been accused of using the club as a public relations vehicle to show Abu Dhabi as "a progressive, dynamic Gulf state, which deflects attention from what is really going on in the country".

Sheikh Mansour: Worth £20 billion
GettyImagesSheikh Mansour said his purchase of Man City showed the world what Abu Dhabi is about.

• Curtis: City's PR vehicle

Human Rights Watch (HRW), speaking after mass arrests and reports of the torturing of prisoners in Abu Dhabi, said that City, which was bought by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, was in effect being run day-to-day by Khaldoon al-Mubarak, who is also the chairman of a body which advises on the kingdom's international image.

Mansour himself told the Guardian in 2008 that his purchase showed the world "the essence of what Abu Dhabi is about … there is almost a personification of the values we hold as Abu Dhabi, with the values of the club and the values we would like to stick to".

But Nicholas McGeehan of HRW told the newspaper that Manchester City was "being used as a branding vehicle to promote and effectively launder the reputation of a country perpetrating serial human rights abuses … that should be of concern to football supporters as well as human rights organisations." 

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