Man City owner Sheikh Mansour criticised by UK government for meeting with Syrian president and Putin ally al-Assad

Sheikh Mansour Manchester CityGetty Images

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour has been criticised by the UK government for meeting with Syrian president and Putin ally Bashar al-Assad.

Assad visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week for the first time since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011 to sit down with a number of influential figures, including Mansour.

The pair were pictured embracing during their meeting, which has been seen as helping to "undermine the prospect of lasting peace in Syria".

What's been said?

A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said: "It is the UK’s firm belief that — in the absence of a change in behaviour by the Syrian regime — strengthening ties undermines the prospect of a lasting and inclusive peace in Syria.”

Labour MB Chris Bryant speaks out

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who is also chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, questioned if Mansour is a “fit and proper person to be owning a football club” in the wake of his meeting with Assad.

Bryant also said it would be “good to see the back of" the City owner, who initially completed his takeover at the Etihad Stadium in 2008, while pointing out the links between Assad and Russia President Putin.

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“What is it that people don’t get?" he told The Telegraph. "There’s been a form of barbarous, sustained murder going on in Syria, run jointly by Assad, and now Putin is doing exactly the same in a barbaric war of aggression against innocent sovereign Ukraine.

“And some people want to meet up with the bully boys?”

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