Man Utd owner Ratcliffe ‘understands’ Man City ‘challenging’ Premier League in court

Jason Soutar
Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe at a press conference
Sir Jim Ratcliffe at a press conference

Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe says he “can understand” why Manchester City have taken the Premier League to court over associated party transaction (APT) rules.

The arbitration hearing in Man City’s legal case against the Premier League began on June 10 and could have huge ramifications for England’s top flight.

Pep Guardiola’s side have challenged the league’s APT rules in a hearing set to last until June 21.

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

They reportedly want to scrap the rules that were introduced in December 2021 following Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund buying Newcastle United.

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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.

City winning this case is a scary prospect but Man Utd‘s new co-owner Ratcliffe says he ‘understands’ why his neighbours are “challenging” the Premier League rules over APT rules.

“I can understand why they are challenging it,” Ratcliffe told Bloomberg. “You can understand why they would say that they want an open market, free market.”

Ratcliffe also discussed a potential Football Governance Bill, which has been backed by the Labour Party, who are on course to form the next government following the General Election on July 4.

This legislation aims to establish checks and balances on how clubs are managed, in a bid to protect fans and ensure financial stability.

More spending limits could come into effect if this is passed and Ratcliffe is not happy about it.

“If you’ve got a government regulator at the end of the day they will regulate and that won’t be good,” he said.

So-called “anchoring” will be trialed next season and the British billionaire thinks this would hinder clubs in the “Premiership” (ugh).

“What would anchoring do?” he adds.

“It would inhibit the top clubs in the Premiership. The last thing you want in the Premiership is for the top clubs in the Premiership not to be able to compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and PSG.”

Ratcliffe added: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

With so much intensity on making sure you do not break financial rules, Ratcliffe believes the Premier League will spend “more time in court” than actually improving the division.

“We’ve got more accountants than we’ve got sporting people at Manchester United,” Ratcliffe said.

“If you’re not careful, the Premier League is going to finish up spending more time in court than it is thinking about what’s good for the league.”

Ratcliffe adds that he wants Man Utd to become as successful as European champions Real Madrid.

“There’s room for improvement everywhere we look at Manchester United, and we will improve everything,” he said.

“We want to be where Real Madrid is today, but it’ll take time.”

But Ratcliffe adds: “I’m not confident that we’ll solve all the problems in the first transfer window,” he said.

He is clearly aware of Man Utd’s potential and believes their brand is on par with Coca-Cola in the soft drinks world.

“Everybody in the world knows of Manchester because of Manchester United,” he said.

“Manchester United is like Coca-Cola, isn’t it? Everybody knows it. I’m not sure I know why, But it’s a fact.”

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