The £400 million stadium sponsorship deal of West Asian-based airline Etihad with English Premier League club Manchester City will face an investigation of the European continental football body, UEFA. Etihad Airways is the national airline of Abu Dhabi, whose ruler is the half-brotherof the football club's owner, Sheikh Mansour.
UEFA will be checking to ensure that the sponsorship - which sees the The City of Manchester Stadium renamed the Etihad Stadium - is not artificially inflated to comply with its new Financial Fair Play rules.
"UEFA will use relevant experts to make assessments as to the fair value of any major sponsorship deals, using appropriate industry benchmarks," a spokesman told The Independent on Sunday. "These will then be considered by the Club Financial Control Panel, together with any relevant information the clubs present regarding the deals, when they assess the break-even requirements."
According to the newspaper's football correspondent Steve Tongue, Manchester City "insist the deal is based on legitimate market values and will help them move towards meeting the FFP requirements of losing no more than £40 million in the three years to 2014-15. Clubs must effectively break even by 2018 or face being barred from European competition."