Man City’s lawsuit against the Premier League is nonsense

Champions Manchester City are taking unprecedented legal action against the Premier League, arguing that the tightened financial rules breach British competition law and are seeking damages because the club is the victim of ‘discrimination’.

Manchester City claim the league has used the Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules to ‘stifle’ their on-pitch success. APTs involve sponsorship from companies that have close ties to a club’s owners.

In this case, Manchester City’s owners, Abu Dhabi United Group, have strong ties to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government. The club is largely sponsored by UAE-funded Etihad Airways, which was chaired by a board member until 2021. In short, almost half of Manchester City’s revenue comes from a company with significant links to club ownership.

Separately, but in the same legal arena, Manchester City is fighting 115 allegations of financial fair play (FFP) violations. If Manchester City beats the Premier League because of ATPs, it will have a stronger argument to win its FFP case too. The ATP case will be heard on June 10, while no date has yet been set for the hearing of the FFP case.

By launching the legal offensive now, Manchester City and its expensive lawyers are trying to portray the Premier League as conniving gangsters who locked them up in golden handcuffs to prevent them from winning.

Well, the conspiracy and the handcuffs must have been pretty lame considering Manchester City has won eight league titles and continues to outpace its biggest rivals since taking over the UAE in 2008.

The Premier League’s crackdown on ATPs came in response to the takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia-based companies in 2021. If Manchester City’s allegations contained even a shred of truth, Newcastle would have every reason to join to join the lawsuit and lend it credibility. But they declined, as did the remaining 18 clubs invited to rebel against the league’s “tyranny of the majority” as described in the documents.

A victory for Manchester City in court could result in the rules being abolished and both clubs potentially receiving significant financial separation from the rest of the league, essentially legalizing a monopoly run by state-funded clubs with virtually unlimited resources.

Furthermore, if Manchester City was really being discriminated against, why were small clubs like Everton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City quickly given points deductions if they broke FFP rules? It appears Manchester City will be favored as no punishment has been handed out for charges in early 2023.

Manchester City’s legal action is nothing more than obstructionist nonsense designed to make their FFP charges disappear. In fact, the charges include 35 counts of failing to “cooperate” with the league’s investigation.

“The Cityzens” think they are freedom fighters trying to overthrow the regime of big clubs with all the money and the best players, when in reality they are exactly what they supposedly want to destroy, and they are not fooling anyone.