Man City FFP: Citizens ‘receive support’ from Aston Villa as Guardiola retirement claim emerges

Joe Williams
Man City boss Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola's Man City are accused of breaching FFP rules.

Man City are being backed by fellow Premier League side Aston Villa in their challenge against the governing body, according to reports.

The Times reported earlier this month that the Citizens have issued a legal claim challenging the validity of the Premier League’s associated party transaction (APT) rules, with the arbitration hearing starting last Monday.

The APT rules are designed to ensure that 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.

The Times said the rules will be challenged under competition law, and that the Premier League has sought the support of other clubs in conducting its defence against the claim.

A successful challenge which declared the APT rules unlawful would give clubs free rein to strike commercial deals without independent oversight. A ruling in Man City’s favour could even have a wider impact on Premier League governance, where rule changes are decided by a majority vote among clubs.

Man City are also preparing to defend themselves against 115 charges laid by the Premier League over alleged breaches of its financial rules – but it is unclear what bearing this claim could have on that separate matter.

Everton are reportedly throwing their weight behind Man City in their legal challenge against the Premier League and now Football Insider claim that the Citizens ‘have received support from Aston Villa’ too.

The report adds:

‘Villa are backing Man City after their owner Nassef Sawiris threatened legal action against the governing body over the profit and sustainability (PSR) rules.

‘The West Midlands giants proposed the allowable loss limit should be increased from £105million to £135million for the 2024-25 season, but Premier League clubs voted against the suggestion last week.

‘Sawiris has admitted Villa are considering legal action against the PSR rules after Football Insider revealed the club must raise £60million in player sales this summer to balance the books.’

Pep Guardiola has one year left on his contract at the Etihad Stadium and there have been some rumours that he could make it his last season at Man City with the FFP charges hanging over them.

And former West Ham striker Frank McAvennie reckons Guardiola could retire when he leaves Man City as there are very options where he could achieve greater success.

McAvennie told Football Insider: “I don’t know where he’s going to go. Where can he go? Maybe he’ll go and break America.

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“He talks about it being Johan Cruyff who inspired him, and now all these young coaches coming through will be inspired by Pep. I don’t know where he would go.

“He’s got so much money and he’s got a family, maybe he’ll call it a day. He could be on his own island somewhere just lying in the sun and watching everybody else suffer.

“He’s been in Germany and won everything in Germany, he’s been at Barcelona and I don’t think he would go to Real Madrid.”