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Manchester City launch legal action against the Premier League over its financial rules in move which could help club defend their 115 alleged breaches of top flight regulations

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Manchester City have launched ‘unprecedented legal action’ against the Premier League’ in a dispute that is shaking up top-flight English football. 

City are still awaiting an outcome for 115 charges for allegedly breaching financial rules – that are strongly denied by the club – with a hearing now set for November.

However while they await the hearing, which is expected to last six weeks, the Premier League champions have reportedly taken legal action against the division. 

According to The Times, City are looking to end the league’s Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules, which they claim are unlawful. 

It was reported in February that City were warning of the threat of legal action against the league’s APT rules and the outlet have confirmed the club went ahead with it – with a date for the hearing now set for June 10th. 

Manchester City have launched ‘unprecedented legal action’ against the Premier League’ 

City look to end the Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules, which they claim are unlawful

City look to end the Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules, which they claim are unlawful 

City have already been investigated for their dealings from 2019 to 2023, where they were forced to pay an £8.6m fine for the findings

City have already been investigated for their dealings from 2019 to 2023, where they were forced to pay an £8.6m fine for the findings

The rules – introduced in December 2021 – are designed to maintain competitiveness by preventing top-flight clubs from inflating commercial deals with companies linked to their owners. 

However, inside a 165-page legal document, City claim that the rules have been approved by rivals to stifle their success on the pitch as a ‘tyranny of the majority’.

The club have accused rivals of ‘discrimination against Gulf ownership’ – after the rules were implemented shortly after Newcastle United’s Saudi takeover.

City also claim the rules were ‘deliberately intended to stifle commercial freedoms of particular clubs in particular circumstances, and thus to restrict economic competition’. 

The Times’ report further states that City are suing the Premier League for damages and argue the system of requiring at least 14 clubs to vote over a matter gives ‘the majority unacceptable levels of control’.

However, rival clubs claim that City’s appeal could destroy the competitiveness of the English top-flight, as it would allow rich clubs to spend an unlimited amount on playing squads and infrastructure.

If the league champions are successful in their hearing, it could allow the league’s richest clubs to value sponsorship deals without needing independent assessment.

The outlet claims that the Premier League’s own legal department have had to shift their focus from the hearing on City’s 115 charges to this one.

As well as having a major impact on the league itself, City’s appeal could have a huge affect on their impending hearing over their alleged financial charges.

Man City manager Pep Guardiola (second from left) with club owners Sheikh Mansour (right)

Man City manager Pep Guardiola (second from left) with club owners Sheikh Mansour (right)

Managing director of the Premier League, Richard Masters has been central to the case

Managing director of the Premier League, Richard Masters has been central to the case

City are still awaiting an outcome for the 115 charges, which include a failure to provide accurate financial information between the 2009-10 and 2017-18 seasons, a failure to provide accurate details of player and manager payments during the same period, and alleged breaches of Premier League and UEFA financial rules.

A total of 35 relate to a failure to co-operate with Premier League investigations into the matter between December 2018 and February 2023. 

Sponsorship deals linked with their owner’s companies have become central to the accusations filed against the Manchester giants. 

However, City now claim ‘there is no rational or logical connection between a club’s financial non-sustainability and its receipt of revenues from entities linked to ownerships’. 

The first alleged breach and the breach which City face the most charges from claims that from every season from 2009-10 to 2017-18, the Manchester side failed to follow the rules that states that member clubs must provide accurate financial information to the league.

This allows the FFP a ‘true and fair’ view of a club’s revenue which includes sponsorship deals and their operating cost, which involve player salaries. 

Manchester City – 115 FFP Charges  
Type of breach Number of charges relating to breach Date of trial  Date of decision 
Failure to provide accurate and up-to-date financial information from 2009-10 to 2017-18 54
Failure to provide accurate financial reports for player and manager compensation from  2009-10 to 2017-18 14     
Failure to comply with UEFA’s regulations, including UEFA’s Club and Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations   Autumn 2024  Summer 2025  
Breaches of Premier League profitability and sustainability regulations from 2015-16 to and including 2017-18 season      
Failure to cooperate with Premier League investigations from December 2018-present  35     
Manchester City deny any wrongdoing in relation to regulation breaches dating back to 2009

Manchester City deny any wrongdoing in relation to regulation breaches dating back to 2009

Every club in the Premier League signs up to a code of compliance, which essentially translates to clubs agreeing to behave themselves and provide the league with accurate and up-to-date accounts that are expected to be audited each year.

Over the past few year’s City have been accused of inflating the value of their sponsorships which are connected to their owners. 

Another charge which City face accuses City of not being truthful in the reporting of the compensation they handed out to leaving managers over the course of multiple seasons.

They also face accusations of reducing the cost of player and coach salaries by introducing a third party who paid a portion of the wages.

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