Claims, Hearing Date, Reaction – Explained: Manchester City’s ‘unprecedented’ fresh legal challenge against ‘unlawful’ Premier League rule

Claims, Hearing Date, Reaction – Explained: Manchester City’s ‘unprecedented’ fresh legal challenge against ‘unlawful’ Premier League rule

Manchester City and the Premier League are set for a fresh legal battle after Etihad executives launched an ‘unprecedented’ case.

The Premier League and Manchester City are set to appear at an independent commission this Autumn, as the east Manchester club face a major legal battle relating to the alleged 115 breaches of financial rules between 2009 and 2018, following a four-year investigation.

The two parties will however be involved in ‘unprecedented’ legal action this month, with The Times disclosing that Manchester City have launched a second battle against the Premier League in relation to Associated Party Transaction rules.

Manchester City reportedly allege that the rules, which were introduced in December 2021, are ‘unlawful’ and as a result will ‘seek damages’ from the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola’s side won the Premier League title for a sixth time in seven years last month, however the divisions meant CEO Richard Masters chose against attending the finale fixture at the Etihad Stadium against West Ham, where the Sky Blues clinched a fourth consecutive title.

Ongoing legal disputes between the Premier League and Manchester City likely impacted that decision, with the bombshell revelation regarding this new case set to potentially have huge ramifications for the English top-flight.

Following the emergence of details regarding a fresh set of major legal proceedings, here is everything you need to know about the case and the rules!

Why are Manchester City suing the Premier League?

Matt Lawton reports that Manchester City are suing the Premier League for damages alongside attempts to end Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules, which they claim are ‘unlawful’, and ‘discriminates against Gulf ownership’ within the division.

Reports that a Premier League club was planning legal action against the rule first surfaced in February 2024.

What are the Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules?

APT rules were brought in by the Premier League in December 2021 following the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United, aiming to prevent clubs from signing commercial deals at inflated prices, which could enable teams to spend even greater sums on player transfers.

What is Manchester City’s argument?

Manchester City reportedly argue that sponsors linked to club owners should be allowed to determine how much they want to pay, and also believe that the 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.

The Times reveal also that Manchester City will argue that APT rules limit a club’s ability to buy the best players and will force them to charge fans more for tickets, as well as potentially leading to spending cuts on youth development, women’s football and community programmes.

It will be further argued by Manchester City that the Premier League failed to regulate spending when clubs such as Manchester United were more dominant, believing that APT rules have prevented the Sky Blues from monetising their brand in the way United did.

When is the case hearing?

The two-week hearing will reportedly take place from Monday 10th June, following the filing of a claim in February.

What has been the reaction of other Premier League clubs?

The Times claim that at least one other top-flight side has submitted a witness statement in support of Manchester City’s case, meanwhile more than half have sided with the Premier League.

Earlier this year, The Athletic revealed that Manchester City, Burnley, Chelsea, Everton, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and Wolves had all voted against a series of new proposals to block affiliate transactions.

What have Manchester City and the Premier League said?

Both Manchester City and the Premier League are yet to comment on the reports.