Manchester City sues Premier League over ‘sponsorship rules’

Manchester City has taken the unprecedented step of taking legal action against the Premier League, alleging discrimination against Golf ownership by rival clubs. The legal challenge centers on associated party transaction (APT) rules, which require sponsorship or revenue agreements between a club and entities linked to their owners to be executed at fair market value. City’s case argues that the stricter APT rules, introduced in February, breach competition law and have unfairly hampered their sponsorship deals, leading to financial losses for which they are seeking damages.

The legal team representing Manchester City claim these rules subject the club to a ‘tyranny of the majority’, specifically discriminating against their Gulf ownership under Sheikh Mansour, Abu Dhabi’s deputy prime minister. A two-week closed arbitration hearing initiated by City starts on Monday. The legal dispute could potentially undermine the Premier League’s 115 charges against City, some of which accuse the club of disguising owner financing as sponsorship in breach of competition rules. Manchester City denies any wrongdoing in these matters.

If Manchester City’s argument that the APT rules are illegal prevails, it could significantly weaken the Premier League’s case against them. Currently, twelve of the remaining nineteen Premier League clubs have declared their support for the league’s defense. Both the Premier League and Manchester City declined to comment on the ongoing legal proceedings when contacted by Standard Sport.