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Man City buys into Japanese club Yokohama

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm •  Published: May 20, 2014
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City expanded its global portfolio of clubs on Tuesday by buying a stake in Japanese team Yokohama F Marinos from Nissan Motor Co.

The Abu Dhabi-owned Premier League champions have already taken over Australian club Melbourne Heart and are starting new Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC.

By taking a minority stake in Yokohama, City said the J-League champions will gain access to its "training methods, medical care, sport science, team management and coaching know-how."

The income from such a partnership will aid City's attempts to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules. UEFA imposed a fine of 60 million euros ($82 million) on City last week and ordered the club limit its Champions League squads to 21 players next season for failing to curb overspending. UEFA said 40 million euros will be returned to City fulfills its financial obligations over the next two years, including limiting deficits to 10 million euros in the 2014-15 financial year.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak renewed the club's criticism of UEFA on Tuesday while making an indirect reference to rival Manchester United, which has faced criticism from its own fans for the millions of pounds it pays out to service debts loaded onto the club by its American owners.

"We have zero debt we don't pay a penny to service any debt," Al Mubarak said in an interview on the club website. "For me, that is a sustainable model however our friends in UEFA seem to believe otherwise.

"They have their view, we have ours. I disagree with their view."

City lost 149.5 million pounds ($252 million) between 2011 and 2013 as owner Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, spent heavily to transform the club into a European power.

"We will go into profitably next year," said Al Mubarak, whom the club declines to make available for interviews.