Premier League champions Manchester City attempted to bypass UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations by allowing their Abu Dhabi-based sponsors to make cash injections, Der Spiegel alleges on Tuesday.
The German news magazine said it had seen internal documents in which the club’s officials discussed how to wipe out a shortfall of almost £10 million ($13 million).
The allegations are the latest in the so-called Football Leaks series.
Under FPP rules, clubs cannot spend more than they earn in any given season and deficits must fall within a 30-million-euro limit over three seasons.
City were fined 60 million euros by UEFA in 2014 for breaching those rules, but the two parties reached an agreement under which the club would get 40 million euros back if they stuck to the terms of their settlement.
Der Spiegel says City were in danger of violating the FPP rules after they sacked manager Roberto Mancini in 2013 after the club failed to successfully defend their title.