Man City FFP: APT verdict revealed as Everton throw weight behind ‘very sad’ Citizens

Joe Williams
Man City and Premier League logos
Man City are taking legal action against the Premier League.

Man City are expected to fail in their legal challenge against the Premier League with former Everton CEO Keith Wyness claiming the case “will be squashed”.

The Citizens’ legal challenge against Premier League financial rules will be heard over the next two weeks, which could have hugely significant consequences for the English top flight.

The Premier League champions are challenging the league’s associated party transaction (APT) rules in a hearing which started on Monday and is set to last until June 21.

It is believed Man City will challenge the validity of the rules under UK competition law.

The Timeswhich first reported details of Man City’s claim last Tuesday, said the club were seeking to scrap the rules, which were first introduced in December 2021 following the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle and were most recently strengthened in February.

The rules are designed to ensure any commercial deal or player transfer between a club and entities with links to that club’s ownership are conducted at fair market value, so that club revenues are not artificially inflated.

If an arbitration panel declares the APT rules invalid, then clubs would effectively be free to do any commercial deals they wished without any independent judgement being made on whether those deals were for fair market value.

That could then in turn help clubs boost their declared revenue and give them greater leeway on transfer and wages spending under financial sustainability rules. There are fears it could lead to the clubs whose owners have the deepest pockets – Man City and Newcastle – effectively being in a league of their own in terms of spending.

It is unclear what, if any, bearing this claim could have on the separate matter of the 115 charges brought by the Premier League against City over alleged breaches of the league’s financial rules. A hearing in that case is expected to begin in the autumn. Man City strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

But former Everton chief Wyness doubts that Man City will win their legal challenge against the Premier League with the case set to be “squashed”.

Wyness told Football Insider: “Long-term I think the claim will be squashed. I don’t think they’ll win it.

“But short-term, they’ll have achieved their goal of attacking and distracting the Premier League from the bigger 115 charges case.

“I think that’s the whole game. It’s very sad that they’ve taken such an aggressive position in the football discussion. It’s wrong.”

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Finance expert Stefan Borson insists Everton will be throwing their weight behind Man City’s case after previously benefitting from sponsorship deals linked to Alisher Usmanov.

“Historically, Everton have benefitted greatly from sponsorships from people like Usmanov’s vehicle USM,” Borson told Football Insider.

“Over the years, USM has been a related party, but then ceased to be a related party.

“At the point that it ceased to be a related party, those deals with USM fell out of the net of the Premier League until the associated party rules came in.

“Now the associated party rules are in play, some of those deals would be prevented or need to be shown to be fair value under the stringent rules.

“But most importantly for Everton is that they are up for sale. For the clubs who are trying to sell themselves, you want as little regulation as possible for a club that’s for sale because they want to be able to make an impact if they were purchased.

“Clearly, if you can invest in a club that you buy, it makes it a more interesting proposition.”