Manchester City file lawsuit against Premier League, ignite issues among clubs

Manchester City have filed a surprising lawsuit against the Premier League, alleging ‘discrimination’ against the club’s ownership.

The unprecedented move is said to have triggered a ‘civil war’ among Premier League clubs, according to reports.

The legal action centers on the Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules, which City claims are ‘unlawful.’

Introduced following Newcastle’s Saudi-backed takeover in 2021, these rules are intended to ensure fair competition by preventing clubs from inflating commercial deals with companies linked to their owners.

Manchester City file lawsuit against Premier League, ignite issues among clubs
Manchester City demands the removal of the APT rule – Getty image

Such deals must be independently assessed to confirm they reflect fair market value.

Meanwhile, City argues that these rules were designed to curb their success and amount to ‘discrimination’ under what they describe as a ‘tyranny of the majority.’

They seek the removal of the APT rules, claiming they unfairly target the club’s financial activities.

talkSPORT reports that a two-week arbitration hearing is scheduled to begin next week, with the Premier League’s 19 other clubs invited to participate in the legal proceedings.

So far, up to 12 clubs have agreed to support the Premier League’s defense through witness statements or letters.

If Manchester City wins the lawsuit, it would enable them and other wealthy clubs to secure sponsorship deals without independent evaluations, potentially increasing their revenue and, consequently, their transfer budgets.

However, this is not going well with other clubs who have raised concerns among rival clubs about the potential implications for the competitive balance in the league.

Notably, Chelsea and Newcastle also opposed the APT rules, sharing similar sponsor-related interests with City.

City’s sponsors include Etihad Airways, Etisalat, and Experience Abu Dhabi, all linked to their ownership.

It is noteworthy that the lawsuit is separate from the ongoing investigation into Manchester City’s 115 charges related to financial fair play breaches, set for a hearing in November.