Man City FFP: Three PL clubs back City but one is ‘reluctant to join forces’ as other sides seek expulsion

Joe Williams
Man City corner flag
A corner flag at the Etihad Stadium before a match.

Man City have been backed by three other Premier League clubs after it was reported that they have launched legal action against the governing body.

The Times reported on Tuesday that an arbitration hearing will start on Monday over a claim made by Premier League champions Man City against the top flight’s associated party transaction (APT) regulations.

The APTs are designed to ensure that all deals between a club and entities linked to that club’s owners are done at fair market value.

The Times reports that a 165-page claim was issued by lawyers representing Man City.

If the action is successful, The Times says it could assist Man City in the defence of their case against 115 Premier League charges laid in February 2023, because some of the charges relate to alleged attempts to disguise owner funding as sponsorship in breach of league rules. The Citizens deny any wrongdoing.

And now the Daily Mail understand that Man City have three sympathisers among Premier League clubs over their attempts to alter spending rules.

‘At least three clubs have sympathy for Manchester City’s position after they declared war on the Premier League over spending rules.

‘Mail Sport understands that Chelsea, Aston Villa and Newcastle all believe the champions have valid concerns ahead of a hearing on Monday at which City will attempt to get rules that limit how much companies linked to club owners can spend on sponsorship deals thrown out.

‘While Chelsea have provided a statement which challenges the updated rules on associated party transactions (APT), especially with regards to multi-club ownership, it is understood that Villa co-owner, the Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris, is close to City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and that he shares frustrations over imposed limits on spending.’

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But the Daily Telegraph claims that Newcastle are expected to take a neutral stance over Man City standing against APT rules to ‘avoid being caught in crossfire of bitter dispute over financial rules’.

‘Newcastle United are reluctant to outwardly join forces with Manchester City in the Premier League civil war over state-sponsored spending freedoms.

‘The Saudi-owned club are expected to take a neutral stance in other competition-wide financial discussions on Thursday to avoid being caught in the crossfire of an escalating dispute.

‘Club sources also refused to be drawn on whether Newcastle are the undisclosed team backing City at their landmark legal hearing next week.’

It comes after other reports have claimed that ‘some Premier League clubs are keen to see expulsion from the top flight left on the table as a possible punishment if City are found guilty’.

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