Man City ‘launch unprecedented legal action against Premier League’ as top flight is ‘plunged into civil war’

Joe Williams
Pep Guardiola waves to Man City fans.
Pep Guardiola waves to Man City supporters.

Reports claim that Man City have launched legal action against the Premier League which could change the game in England forever.

The Citizens lifted their fourth consecutive Premier League title last month with Pep Guardiola’s side deserving of another title after a relentless finish to the season.

Man City were charged in February 2023 with more than 100 breaches of the competition’s financial fair play regulations dating back to 2009.

The club could face a points deduction or even expulsion from the competition if found guilty but Man City have vociferously denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight their case.

Man City went on to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League Treble last season and were on course for a Double this term before arch-rivals Man Utd beat them in the FA Cup final.

To many critics of the club, which is supported by the vast wealth of owner Sheikh Mansour, the Premier League charges cast a shadow over their success.

But The Times claim the Premier League champions are now campaigning for the removal of Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules with the Citizens insisting the rules aren’t lawful and are as a result of other clubs attempting to stifle their progress.

The Times wrote:

‘Manchester City have launched an unprecedented legal action against the Premier League in a move that has sparked civil war in English football’s top flight.

‘The dispute, which has become a battle between the most powerful clubs in the country, will be settled after a two-week private arbitration hearing starting on Monday.

‘The outcome could dramatically alter the landscape of the professional game and have a significant impact on a separate hearing set for November into City’s 115 alleged breaches of the Premier League’s regulations and financial rules. That hearing, expected to last six weeks, could lead to massive fines for the club owners and possibly even relegation for Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side.’

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Man City argue they are victims of ‘discrimination’ because of the APT rules and that the ‘tyranny of the majority’ is attempting to halt their progress as a club.

Explaining the rules, The Times add:

‘Introduced in December 2021 in the wake of the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United, the rules are designed to maintain the competitiveness of the Premier League by preventing clubs from inflating commercial deals with companies linked to their owners. The rules dictate that such transactions have to be independently assessed to be of “fair market value” (FMV).’

The report continues:

‘City are suing the Premier League for damages, while arguing that the league’s democratic system of requiring at least 14 clubs, or two-thirds of those who vote, to implement rule changes gives the majority unacceptable levels of control. They accuse rival clubs of “discrimination against Gulf ownership”, citing the comments of one particular senior club executive.

‘City argue that sponsors linked to club owners — City’s are in Abu Dhabi — should be allowed to determine how much they want to pay, regardless of independent valuation. Four of City’s top ten sponsors have ties to the United Arab Emirates, including stadium and shirt sponsor Etihad Airways.’

And other Premier League clubs are worried that if Man City are successful it could impact on their case over their alleged breaches of the league’s financial fair play rules.

The Times comment:

‘As well as the impact it could have on the Premier League as a competition, clubs fear City’s claim could also be key to the outcome of the hearing into their 115 alleged breaches between 2009 and 2023, with sponsorship deals funded by companies linked to Abu Dhabi central to the accusations against them.’

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