Man City launch legal action over financial rules

A general view of the main entrance to Manchester City's Etihad StadiumGetty Images

Manchester City are due to face the Premier League in a legal battle over the organisation’s commercial rules next week.

BBC Sport understands an arbitration hearing surrounding the legality of the league’s associated party transaction (APT) rules, which determine whether sponsorship deals are financially ‘fair’, has been set for 10-21 June.

In February, BBC Sport reported the Premier League was being threatened with legal action over changes to its rules.

It has been disclosed to the remaining Premier League clubs that City are the club in question, with the league offering the remaining 19 members the opportunity to make witness statements as part of the case.

Neither the Premier League nor Manchester City have responded to requests for a comment on the case.

However, The Times says it has seen a 165-page legal document in which City claim they are victims of “discrimination”, that the amended rules were approved by rivals to “stifle” their success on the pitch, and call it “a tyranny of the majority”.

Last month City became the first club in English football history to win the league title in four consecutive seasons.

The move comes a matter of months before a Premier League disciplinary commission will hear over 100 charges against City for breaching its financial regulations, some of which date back to 2009.

Some of those charges relate to amounts paid to City by sponsors linked to Abu Dhabi.

The new rules around sponsorship deals were agreed earlier this year by the required minimum 14 clubs.

At the time, the Premier League said the move would “enhance the efficiency and accuracy of the system”.

The Times report that in addition to the challenge to the rules, City are also claiming damages.

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