What Is Sheikh Mansour Afraid Of?

Last week wannabe Bond villain Manchester City principal owner Sheikh Mansour provided us with comedy gold when he sued the English Premier League for, among other things, producing rules governing spending through “the tyranny of the majority “and racism towards Arab owners. The accusations are almost too farcical to write about (almost) but raise a more interesting question, what is Sheikh Mansour afraid of?

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The allegations in his lawsuit are so preposterous that Sheikh Mansour is risking making himself a laughingstock. The EPL makes decisions through majority vote by its 20 clubs. This has long aggravated the biggest teams, but Sheikh Mansour knew it when he bought then yo-yo club Man City in 2008. To sue 16 years later is absurd. Meanwhile, while I’m not saying there is no anti-Arab sentiment in England, accusing the EPL of racism in this instance doesn’t pass the laugh test.

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Everton, Forest, Sheffield United, and others have been punished for their financial malfeasance. City has been accused of financial doping by other parties, including UEFA. Perhaps most tellingly, the EPL’s other petro-tyrant’s sportswashing project Arab state-owned team, Newcastle United, hasn’t joined in the lawsuit. These charges just won’t stick. They’re laughable.

NOT USED TO A SHEIKH DOWN


Men like Sheikh Mansour, rich men, powerful men, autocrats, don’t like being laughed at. So why do this? My guess is fear. The fabled 115 charges are supposedly getting adjudicated this year. He knows what City has done and, having watched other teams face sporting punishment in the form of points deductions, fears the on field-consequences for City. Everton originally received a 10-point deduction for 1 charge; a proportional punishment for City’s charges would see the club automatically relegated the same way Saracens Rugby Club was for violating the Premiership’s salary cap. This would be a massive revenue hit and even bigger humiliation for City. Even if no trophies are stripped, and perhaps he has heard something we haven’t on that front, the punishment would essentially put an asterisk on all of the club’s domestic and international trophies. That’s an outcome even worse than laughter for Sheikh Mansour.

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I could be wrong. The EPL could be ready to back down or give City a slap on the wrist. But I
don’t think so. They’ve taken their time to build the case. They’ve punished other clubs. Surely the
other owners are angry City wins about half the trophies on offer by cheating its ass off. So what’s the
punishment going to be? What is Sheikh Mansour afraid of?

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