Man City Takes Legal Action Against Premier League Over Financial Rules

The legal battle could reshape English football forever.

Manchester City has launched a significant legal challenge against the Premier League, potentially altering the landscape of English football. This action comes after City clinched their fourth consecutive Premier League title, capping off a remarkable season.

In February 2023, Manchester City was charged with over 100 breaches of the Premier League’s financial fair play regulations, dating back to 2009. If found guilty, the club could face severe penalties, including points deductions or even expulsion from the league. However, City has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and is determined to fight the charges.

Despite the ongoing legal issues, City achieved a historic treble last season, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League. They were close to securing a double this season but were defeated by Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

Critics argue that the Premier League charges overshadow City’s success, especially given the financial backing of owner Sheikh Mansour. The Times reports that Manchester City is now challenging the Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules, claiming they are unlawful and designed by rival clubs to hinder their progress.

Sheikh Mansour

The legal action has sparked significant controversy and is set to be settled through a two-week private arbitration hearing starting on Monday. The outcome could have profound implications for the professional game and influence the separate hearing in November regarding City’s alleged financial rule breaches.

City argues that the APT rules, introduced in December 2021 following the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United, unfairly target them. These rules require commercial deals with owner-linked companies to be independently assessed for “fair market value.” City contends that this system discriminates against Gulf ownership and gives rival clubs too much control over rule changes.

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City’s legal challenge also includes suing the Premier League for damages, arguing that sponsors linked to club owners, like those in Abu Dhabi for City, should be free to set their own sponsorship values without independent valuations. Four of City’s top ten sponsors are linked to the United Arab Emirates, including Etihad Airways.

Other Premier League clubs are concerned that if City succeeds, it could impact the league’s competitiveness and influence the outcome of City’s hearing over the 115 alleged financial breaches. These clubs fear that City’s legal victory might undermine the financial fair play regulations and lead to more lenient outcomes in future cases.

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