字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 (CROWD CHEERS) REPORTER: Melbourne City has won its first A-League grand final with a 3-1 victory over a 10 man Sydney FC in Melbourne. SEAN NICHOLLS: On Australian soccer's biggest stage, a brand-new champion was crowned this year. Melbourne City's inaugural A-League victory was a triumph for loyal fans but also its big-spending foreign owner, based in Abu Dhabi. This is a decades-long play to build a global football empire. They want to be global players in a global economy, and using football, in this case, is one way that they're doing that. Australian soccer has long operated in the shadows of this country's more established football codes, while tens of millions of dollars have poured into the local game from offshore. There's been zero media scrutiny... (LAUGHS) ..of the involvement of most of the people involved in our game. And I think that's the way they like it. If people don't ask questions, they don't need to give answers. It's as simple as that. In the stadiums, fans focus on the exploits of their teams, not their wealthy owners. NICHOLAS MCGEEHAN: Do you really want to be run by a government that's committing war crimes and part of its purpose of owning the club is to deflect attention from those war crimes and other human rights abuses? You know, I would argue no. Clubs should be run in the interest of their supporters and their communities, not in the political interest of foreign governments. No-one in Australia had really raised the question of whether we wanted a sporting club in Australia to be owned by a conglomerate in a country that was a little bit shady. Football clubs have been used internationally for money laundering, for organised criminals to get involved. And, from a law-enforcement perspective, that's something we would never want to see here in Australia. More than its domestic rivals, like AFL or rugby league, soccer is a truly global game, and with that has come significant levels of foreign investment. Tonight on Four Corners we look beyond what happens on the field to investigate the cashed-up powerbrokers behind some of Australia's biggest teams. (TRAFFIC DRONES) (INDISTINCT CHATTER) On a Sunday afternoon in late June, thousands of Australian soccer fans converged on a Melbourne stadium for the code's biggest match of the year. Hey! Hey! (INDISTINCT CHATTER) The Grand Final clash featured two of the league's biggest names - Sydney FC and Melbourne City. FANS: (SING) # Everywhere we go! # It's City boys making all the noise! # Everywhere we go! # Everywhere we go! # Everywhere we go! # It's City boys making all the noise! # (INDISTINCT CHATTER, LAUGHTER) With a home-ground advantage and the chance to win their first championship, Melbourne City fans were pumped-up and out in force. Keep coming, everyone! Get down! Everyone, get down! Grand final day! Oi! Oi! Let's go! Alright... Oi! We're going to go nice and slow and then go fucking mental, alright?! (INDISTINCT CHATTER) ALL: (SING QUIETLY) # Sha-la-la, la-la-la-lah # Shh, shh # Oh, Melbourne boys # Shh, shh (BUILDING) # Sha-la-la, la-la-la-lah (CLAPPING) # Oh, Melbourne boys # Let's go! (LOUDLY) # Sha-la-la, la-la-la-lah! # Oh, Melbourne boys! # Come on! # Sha-la-la, la-la-la-lah! # Come on! # Oh, Melbourne boys! # Let's go! HARRISON VERCOE: The lead-up was tense because we were missing a lot of our key players with being on Socceroos duty, and, so, I was nervous, you know, coming into the Grand Final. Sydney's been the team to beat for years. (WHISTLE BLOWS) At the final whistle, Melbourne City was crowned this year's champion of the men's domestic competition known as the A-League. (CROWD CHEERS) As a fan, that's the best thing you can possibly ask for. I mean, you wait years. I mean, I've been going to games since I was 15 years old, and you dream of winning a championship. (CROWD CHEERS) ANNOUNCER: Scott Jamieson! (CROWD CHEERS) Melbourne City's goal-scoring captain, Scott Jamieson, was credited with a big role in the win. But, in his victory speech, Jamieson was quick to single out a much less recognisable club figure. Firstly, I'd like to thank Melbourne City owner, His Highness Sheikh Mansour. Melbourne City's owner is the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan. He wasn't at the game. If he was watching at all, it was likely from his home over 11,000 kilometres away in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. Sheikh Mansour is...well, he's the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE. He's an al Nahyan, which is the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. So, he's incredibly powerful, on one level. Sheikh Mansour is also staggeringly rich, with a personal fortune estimated at more than $20 billion. Mansour sits at the apex of the royal family that rules Abu Dhabi - the wealthiest of seven principalities that form the United Arab Emirates. He's the brother of the de-facto leader of the United Arab Emirates, which is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, and it's his relationship to him from where he gathers most of his power. The Crown Prince is essentially a dictator at this point. He has assumed a lot of power in Abu Dhabi and United Arab Emirates. And Mansour is very close to him and is part of the inner circle. Sheikh Mansour's first foray into the soccer world was in 2008, when he bought the then mid-tier English Premier League club Manchester City. (INAUDIBLE CHATTER) The Sheikh's purchase of Manchester City polarised fans. On the one hand, Manchester City fans loved it because he brought in the money that allowed them to buy all the players and the expertise and the transformation of the club that would buy them success and trophies. But they didn't know who he was. None of us had ever heard of Sheikh Mansour. We didn't know what he was and what he stood for, whether he was really a football fan - the scepticism over that, of course, given that he's only visited once in 13 years of ownership. Um... So... And then, of course, there are people questioning his wider motives - was he in it for the football or was he in it for other things like, you know, post-oil diversification of a nation's assets or sportswashing or some other motivation? Even though Mansour was the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, he was often just represented in the press and particularly by Manchester City as just a wealthy benefactor, just another sheikh from the Middle East. The level of his involvement to the government and his links to the government were downplayed and underplayed, so nobody really talked about anything other than the fact he had money. Sheikh Mansour's sports-investment company is called City Football Group - a global behemoth recently valued at more than $6 billion. NICK HARRIS: So, City Football Group has been operational since 2013, and it began as a parent company, effectively, of Manchester City, and, quite soon after, New York City FC in New York, and has now grown at this point in 2021 to be a group of... the umbrella organisation that owns and has major shareholdings in 10 different football clubs around the world at this point. In 2014 Sheikh Mansour's City Football Group snapped up a struggling Australian A-League club called Melbourne Heart for about $11 million. Club supporter Harrison Vercoe remembers how it divided the fan base. HARRISON VERCOE: I mean, on one hand, you've got this huge superpower in world football taking over your club and you know there's gonna be a cash injection. And automatically when you hear 'cash injection', you think that's gonna equate to success straightaway. And, on the other hand, you're seeing this club that you've grown up following and supporting week in and week out be stripped of its identity, and that's hard as a fan. You know, we lost our colours, we lost our name, we lost the badge. (INDISTINCT CHATTER) Melbourne Heart was renamed Melbourne City and its colours were changed from red and white to light blue. Why would City Football Group, which owns huge teams like Manchester City, be interested in buying a much smaller team in a much smaller market like Melbourne City? One of the reasons would be around identifying young talent, both men and women. And because they have a network around the world in which they can move those players, it allows them to identify young talent, sell them onto other clubs and further their development as well as realise some commercial gain. The team also became a part of what critics say is a slick propaganda machine designed to burnish the UAE's international image. (CROWD CHEERS) (SOARING MUSIC PLAYS) Melbourne City is one of several City Football teams being used by the UAE to promote next month's world expo in Dubai. SAM KLINTWORTH: The UAE seeks to promote their brand as one of glamour, one of positivity, one of wealth and certainly one of being very globally connected. The reality, in our view, is that much of that actually diverts and distracts from the significant and concerning human-rights abuses that are happening in the UAE on a daily basis. Amnesty International has consistently criticised the United Arab Emirates' record on human rights. Amnesty have many concerns around human-rights violations occurring in the UAE. Some of those include the silencing and imprisonment of those speaking out in opposition to the ruling family. Certainly, the rights of women are a concern for us, the rights of same-sex couples. And there are disturbing human-rights violations against...within the kafala, which is the system of sponsorship for migrant workers. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the video you're about to see, uncovered in an exclusive Nightline investigation, tells a long and dark story - a member of a royal family abusing his power in a violent and despicable way. (GUNSHOTS) (MAN WHIMPERS) Sheikh Mansour's family has been implicated in shocking human-rights abuses. (GUNSHOTS) A video leaked to the US media showed his brother Sheikh Issa torturing a merchant in the desert over a business dispute involving $5,000 worth of grain. FOOTAGE JOURNALIST: With the help of a man in a police uniform, the victim has his legs tied and then is forced to the ground, held down by the officer as sand is shoved into the victim's mouth by what the UAE government now acknowledges to ABC News is one of the country's 22 royal sheikhs... (MAN SCREAMS) ..Sheikh Issa, the brother of the Crown Prince. After using a cattle prod on his victim, there's this gruesome scene - the sheikh points to a board with a nail protruding and then begins to beat him again and again. The tape ends with what appears to be attempted murder. The victim is left semi-conscious as Sheikh Issa drives over him, back and forth, with his Mercedes SUV.