HomeCover StoriesManchester City launches legal battle against Premier League over "discriminatory" sponsorship rules

Manchester City launches legal battle against Premier League over “discriminatory” sponsorship rules

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Manchester City, the recently crowned Premier League champions, has taken legal action against the Premier League, alleging “discrimination” in the league’s associated party transaction (APT) rules.

The club seeks to overturn the rules, which they claim are unlawful, and is demanding damages.

According to The Times, City argues that the rules, tightened in February, unfairly target their sponsorship deals with companies linked to their Abu Dhabi-based owners. The club claims that the rules are a result of “tyranny of the majority” aimed at stifling their success on the pitch.

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The legal battle has far-reaching implications for the Premier League, with City seeking to end the requirement for independent assessment of sponsorship deals.

If successful, this could widen the financial gap between the top clubs and the rest of the league.

The Premier League has received support from 10-12 clubs, who have provided evidence and witness statements to defend the existing rules.

The arbitration hearing is set to begin next Monday and is expected to last two weeks.

This legal dispute is separate from the 115 Premier League charges against City for alleged breaches of regulations and financial rules between 2009 and 2023, which the club strongly denies. That hearing is set for November.

City’s lawsuit claims that the Premier League’s rules were imposed at the instigation of rival clubs reacting to the Saudi takeover of Newcastle in 2021, aimed at “safeguarding their own commercial advantages”. The club accuses rival teams of “discrimination against Gulf ownership”.

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