Manchester City to Take Legal Action Against the Premier League

  • Manchester City just finished another successful season in the English Premier League, winning their fourth title in a row and sixth in the last seven years.
  • However, City has started legal action against the Premier League, claiming that the Associated Party Transaction rules are “unlawful”.
  • City is still also awaiting its hearing for 115 charges levied by the Premier League for breaching financial rules.

Manchester City has dominated the English Premier League recently. In Pep Guardiola’s eight years as the manager of the club, City has won six Premier League titles, including four straight championships. This season, City held off an Arsenal challenge for a two-point win. Online soccer betting sites already have them favored to win it again next season.

However, the club has legal issues to deal with off the pitch. Sky Sports reports (via a report from The Times) that City is suing the Premier League over the league’s Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules. These rules examine sponsorship deals between clubs and companies that own or are financially invested in the club.

This legal action is unprecedented, and also in the shadow of a November 2024 hearing in which City will fight 115 charges from the Premier League. These charges accuse City of breaching the league’s financial rules.

City States ATP Rules are “Unlawful”, Accusing Premier League Of “Gulf Ownership Discrimination”

The APT rules began in 2021 in the Premier League. APT requires all clubs, players, managers, and executives to report their sponsorship relationships with “associated parties” tied to the club. The purpose is to ensure that all sponsorship dealings are of a fair market value.

An example of this was given by Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

"So, if you are the owner of a Premier League club and you have another company, say an airline or an energy company, and you want to get that company to sponsor your club — because that is a good way of bringing revenue into your club – that deal has to be checked by independent auditors to make sure it is of fair value.

You cannot just make up a number and say the deal is worth £100m, £200m or £300m as a way of bringing money into your club. It has to be of fair value.”

This is important as Manchester City is owned by the City Football Group, of which 81% is owned by Abu Dhabi United Group. They’re also sponsored by Etihad, the second-largest airlines in the United Arab Emirates, and their headquarters are in Abu Dhabi. Etihad is the name of their stadium, and what you see on the front of their shirts.

City’s recent success has come with a massive influx of money, and there have been numerous complaints about competitive balance. The Premier League is aiming to try to keep the teams as close as possible in terms of financial competitiveness. Via ESPN, City is claiming that the Premier League has “discrimination against Gulf ownership”, which is why they’re looking to end the APT rules.

Are City Worried After Forest and Everton Punishments?

This is an interesting legal battle for City, who will look to fight 115 financial breaches in November. Everton was docked 10 points for their financial breaches, but an appeal brought it down to six points. Nottingham Forest had four points dropped, and their appeal was rejected.

Many have wondered why it has taken so long for City’s case to be heard. It’s due to the sheer number of charges brought forth against City by the Premier League.

If City is found guilty of multiple charges, they could be looking at substantial punishments and a different trajectory for the future. They might know that it’s going to get ugly, so City are trying to do whatever they can to minimize the potentially incoming damage.

About the Author
Elliot Nield profile picture
Elliot Nield
Casino/Sportsbook Writer
Elliot Nield has worked in the online gambling industry for almost two decades, and while his focus is on sports, he doesn't mind a few hours on the poker felts and the blackjack tables. In his spare time, Elliot can be found cheering on Manchester United and the Kansas City Chiefs, and praying that Patrick Mahomes stays healthy forever.

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