Manchester City in the financial spotlight in the wake of shadowy start-up deal

Start-up deal thrusts attention on Manchester City

Current Premier League holders Manchester City have once again drawn attention to their financial dealings off the pitch, this time in the wake of an agreed deal with a little-known cryptocurrency start-up company.

The company in question is called 3Key, and the senior vice president of Global Partnership Sales of City Football Group Stephen Cieplik hailed the agreement;

“We are excited to partner with 3Key in their journey to simplify the decentralised finance (DeFi) trading analysis user experience through the power of football to engage with our fans with a range of content and activations.”

But investigations in the guts of the operation have yielded little if anything at all, according to The Guardian. 3Key – which is based in Seychelles – has almost no digital footprint and neither do those said to be amongst the hierarchy of the company.

According to the report in the Guardian “Investigative reporter Martin Calladine set online hares racing on Twitter on Monday when he charged people with finding Hodder or other executives named on a press release announcing the arrival of 3Key into the “decentralized finance” market a month ago. After 48 hours, the closest anyone has come to verified information is a photo of a man with a ginger beard in a checked suit who may or may not be 3Key’s “chief growth strategist’ Jacob Caine.”

The shadowy company that Manchester City is now directly linked with is said to facilitate trade in digital assets such as cryptocurrency and NFTs; Non-fungible tokens. City has failed to comment on the deal despite requests.

La Liga chief accuses City of financial doping

“It is not normal that a sovereign fund, such as that of Qatar, can act in an unlimited way in continually injecting money. This creates market inflation and allows clubs in debt to compete with others despite significant losses. What PSG and City are doing is economic doping.”

La Liga chief Javier Tebas did not mince words in what amounted to a scathing attack on Manchester City yesterday when questioned about his thoughts regarding the European Super League fiasco in renewed attacks at the club’s ownership model.

Manchester City draw attention for deal with shadowy start-up company

Manchester City’s English midfielder Jack Grealish applauds the fans at the end of the English FA Community Shield football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 7, 2021. – – NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

City is constantly – and perhaps rightly so – at the forefront of criticisms regarding money controlling football and a club’s ability to spend money with the financial backing of a sovereign nation despite the financial books painting a wildly different picture.

It was another shot taken at Manchester City in the wake of the club continuing to build success on the pitch while shaping their brand off of it; one that stretches to a global scale.

With the financial state of football constantly under scrutiny in the direction – or directions – it looks primed to take, the deal with 3Key is sure to be monitored closely as one has to wonder whether or not this is another trick up the sleeve of a club under ownership that seems hell-bent on stretching the rules as thin as possible.

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Author: Andrew Thompson

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