Manchester City Sue English Premier League Over Financial Rules Amid EPL’s 115 Charges Against City

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Manchester City have launched a legal action against the Premier League over new financial rules imposed by the competition.

The move taken by the Cityzens is an unprecedented one that has sent shockwaves through football.

It has also elicited much conversation and divided some of the most powerful clubs in football.

Incensed stakeholders at the Premier League champions have apparently filed a 165-page legal document claiming they are victims of “discrimination”.

They have also claimed that regulations approved by rivals are aimed at thwarting their success.

It is believed that Manchester City are challenging everything from sponsorship rules to the manner in which decisions are taken by the competition.

Based on reports from the Times, a date for the hearing over the matter has been fixed for June 10, 2024.

Reports indicate that the tribunal is set to last two weeks and it comes as both parties are preparing for the long-awaited hearing on Manchester City’s 115 charges of alleged breach of EPL’s financial fair play rules.

The hearing on the 115 charges is expected to take place in November 2024, with the Cityzens yet to know what the future holds for them due to the charges.

Meanwhile, Manchester City’s legal challenge is fixated on associated party transaction (APT) rules.

APTs, in which teams confirm sponsorship or revenue deals with businesses linked to their owners, have been the subject of scrutiny from the Premier League for a while.

In February 2024, clubs voted for the approval of tougher rules regarding how such deals are valued.

A requirement to examine fair market value for APTs has been contested by Manchester City, who have argued it is against competition law.

It is understood that the Cityzens are requesting financial compensation from the English top-flight division for perceived losses from sponsorship deals that were impeded by the rules. 

Manchester City also argue that the league has not been able to substantiate that clubs get an unfair advantage from associated party transactions.

They claim that it has also previously turned a blind eye to act with equal urgency to control big spending by dominant teams.

The Cityzens Disagree With The Premier League’s Voting Rules

Additionally, Manchester City are not in tandem with the Premier League’s voting rules.

The competition has put in a defined method for making decisions, with the requirement being that 14 of 20 clubs must vote in favor of any proposal for it to be adopted.

This method of decision-making by the Premier League has been lauded as one of the competition’s strengths, as it indicates that clubs must fully be in agreement for any change to be made.

According to the Times, Manchester City’s suit claims the voting system preserves “the tyranny of the majority”.

Based on the Cityzens report between 10 and 12 top-flight teams have responded to a league request for submissions in support of its rules. 

However, a club is said to be in support of Manchester City’s claim and have provided testimony to that effect. 

The takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in 2021 had in the past occasioned hurried moves by teams to alter APT rules.

Manchester City’s new legal claim was filed in February 2024, with the Premier League getting clubs acquainted with the matter in March 2024.

It will be interesting to see how this scenario plays out, a battle between the Cityzens and a competition in which they have won 6 of the last 7 titles.

This clash puts a strain on the Premier League, which has been making efforts to deal with multiple governance problems from enhancing financial regulations to the government’s plan for an autonomous regulator that will oversee English football.

There have been differing opinions since these reports broke out, with some claiming that the Premier League might have shown double standards in recent years.

Others are claiming that Manchester City have a skeleton in their cupboard and as such they are making last-minute moves to save face before the trial of their 115 charges commences.

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