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Manchester United in Dubai for money

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Dignity

Manchester United v Reading - FA Cup Third Round
Romelu Lukaku
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United fans rightfully point out that Manchester City are funded by blood money and with hints of corruption about their funding.

Recent leaks, if true, would suggest that City do not pass the Financial Fair Play regulations - as stupid as they are - and that would imperil their chances of reaching the Champions League next season, assuming they are censured by UEFA. There are no guarantees, of course, that UEFA will actually do anything about anything, because they will probably just try to collect as much cash instead.

However, the blood money angle was legit. City are funded by a state which carries out human rights abuses as a matter of course, and the UAE operates from a point of antisemitism and various other bigotries. The club is used to launder their reputation on the world stage, and watching fans and journalists defending it is a miserable experience. There is no sign of it ending, because the money and fossil fuels show no sign of running out.

This week, United are sullying themselves in the same cack. The club are in Dubai for a training jolly, where they will get to relax in the sunshine, some of them will drink too much, and all of them will meet the sponsors and earn the Glazers some cash.

Let’s not forget, too, that United have links with Saudi Arabia to help develop the game there, another country that goes in for beheading and crucifixion of people. While the Western world is little better in many respects, clubs rarely take sponsorship deals solely motivated by the idea of, say, raising the reputation of France across the world.

All of this is to say that United fans can be happy that they are not directly owned by a bunch of murderers, but that there is only a degree of separation in reality.