Man City FFP: PL clubs seek expulsion and £1bn in damages as ATP legal action thwarts EFL deal

Will Ford
Man CIty boss Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola could leave Man City at the end of next season.

Manchester City’s legal action against the Premier League was one of the key factors in the failure to agree a financial deal with the EFL, as further details on the top flight civil war have been revealed.

It was revealed on Tuesday that City had launched ‘unprecedented legal action’ against the Premier League as they see themselves as victims of ‘discrimination’ because of the APT rules and that the ‘tyranny of the majority’ is attempting to halt their progress as a club.

They are disputing the rules that limit how much companies linked to club owners can pay them in sponsorship, with their case to be heard at a hearing starting on Monday, which is expected to last a fortnight.

It’s been claimed this is a deflection tactic from City as they head for another hearing in November over their 115 alleged breaches of FFP rules, though it’s also thought that success in the ATP case could ‘blow a big hole’ in their FFP charges.

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City deflection stops EFL deal in its tracks

Between ten and 12 clubs have provided letters of support to the Premier League on the back of City’s legal action, which The Times has revealed also stopped the deal vital for the financial future of the EFL in its tracks.

Senior Premier League club sources ‘say they are reluctant to commit extra funds to the EFL if the financial rules limiting spending in the Premier League are deemed unlawful’.

“If we have to spend more to even try to keep pace with clubs like City, we might need to hold on to that money,” one prominent Premier League source said.

The report continues:

‘EFL clubs are hoping to receive an extra £150million per season over six years from the Premier League under the so-called “New Deal For Football”, in addition to the existing £110million in solidarity payments and £40million in youth development funding. But the negotiations among top-flight clubs collapsed in March, only a few weeks after City filed their claim against the Premier League on February 16.

‘Kevin Plumb, general counsel for the Premier League, notified clubs of City’s claim on March 1, and by mid-March it had emerged that they had failed to agree on a new funding package for the EFL. It was reported that as many as ten clubs opposed the new deal for the lower divisions.’

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£1bn in damages

It’s claimed some Premier League clubs believe the hearing is taking place now as City are keen to secure further sponsorship deals ahead of next season, while also pointing out that City were initially in favour of the sponsorship rules they now claim are unlawful.

The report disclosed further details of the civil war among Premier League clubs:

‘Some clubs may pursue compensation claims totalling more than £1billion against the English champions if they are found guilty of any or all of 115 Premier League charges for breaches of financial regulations. The clubs have sought legal advice and could pursue what they call “placing claims”, meaning compensation for not finishing above City in the league. The 115 charges are due to be heard at a separate hearing in November; City deny any wrongdoing relating to the charges.

‘There is an appetite among some clubs for the independent tribunal hearing the case concerning the 115 charges to not only sanction City with a heavy points deduction but also apply rules that enable the league to expel a club from membership. Clubs have no real desire to see City stripped of previous titles (they have been champions eight times since 2011-12), but they do expect an appropriate level of punishment should there be a guilty verdict.

‘Clubs are furious with City for launching this claim against the Premier League when, The Times can reveal, in November 2021 City initially approved recommended changes to the same Associated Party Transactions (APT) rules they are now claiming are unlawful and anti-competitive.’