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In a surprising development, Manchester City has reportedly initiated legal proceedings against the Premier League following the league’s 115 charges against the club.

Manchester City has reportedly initiated an extraordinary legal battle against the Premier League. According to The Times, this action challenges financial regulations that have caused significant discord among top-tier English football clubs.


In a private arbitration session set to begin on Monday and lasting two weeks, City aims to overturn the Premier League’s Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules. These rules, established in December 2021 following Newcastle’s Saudi-backed acquisition, are intended to prevent clubs from inflating commercial agreements with businesses connected to their owners. The APT rules were introduced to ensure competitive balance in the Premier League amid increasing state ownership of clubs. They require that commercial deals be independently verified to ensure they reflect fair market value.


Manchester City argues that these regulations are unlawful and plans to seek damages from the Premier League. The outcome of this hearing could influence another separate hearing regarding City’s alleged 115 breaches of the Premier League’s financial regulations, scheduled for November. If found guilty, the club could face significant penalties, including hefty fines, points deductions, or even relegation.


City has filed a 165-page legal document for the APT rules hearing, claiming they face ‘discrimination’ and labeling the regulations endorsed by rival clubs as a ‘tyranny of the majority.’


The Times reports that some of City’s rivals are concerned that City might succeed in their legal challenge, which would allow wealthier clubs to set their sponsorship deal values without independent assessments, potentially increasing their transfer budgets significantly.


The league’s other 19 clubs have been invited to join the legal action, with between ten and twelve clubs providing either witness statements or letters supporting the Premier League’s defense. Those who have given witness statements might be called to testify at the hearing. Additionally, The Times notes that at least one club has submitted a witness statement in support of City, although sources suggest more than half of the clubs have sided with the Premier League.

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