Man City goes on attack in row with Premier League, bringing its own legal action

Manchester City’s legal case against the Premier League has drawn widespread criticism.

The current Premier League champions are suing the league in an attempt to end its Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules which are linked to commercial and sponsorship deals with companies owned or associated with the same club’s owners.

The current rules require such transactions to be independently assessed to be of fair market value.

Abu Dhabi-owned City believes the rules are ‘unlawful’ and wants damages for revenue lost by preventions made by those rules.

The club has portrayed itself as the oppressed party, referring to the Premier League’s rules, that require any changes to be approved by 14 of the league’s 20 member teams.

City calls this the “tyranny of the majority”.

The action was served on the league in February and is set to go to an arbitration hearing next week.

However, City failed to win much sympathy with many media commentators following the revelations.

Football writer and broadcaster, Henry Winter, said: “Phrases that City’s lawyers have been throwing around, like ‘the tyranny of the majority’ – which is a phrase which means the oppressing of smaller groups. I don’t think anyone looks at Manchester City as the oppressed.”

And he warned that the future of the Premier League could be at risk as a result of City’s actions.

“This just reeks. Who runs the game in this country? Should it be the democracy of the Premier League, with the 14 majority of teams who vote things through? Or should English football be run from Saudi (Arabia) or Abu Dhabi?”

Another theme among commentators is that the action could be an attempt by City to either deflect attention from the current outstanding 115 Financial Fair Play (FFP) charges it faces from the Premier League – reportedly due to be heard this November – or a bid to bargain with the league to withdraw or water down its charges.

Mike Keegan, in the Daily Mail, wrote: “There is a view among some that the move is a tactic by City, aimed at forcing the top flight’s lawyers away from their work on the 115 charges.”

If the FFP charges are upheld, City could face severe financial sanctions, points deductions, or even disqualification.

Greater FFP scrutiny by the league this season has resulted in points deductions for two Premier League sides, Everton, and Nottingham Forest.

Everton suffered two deductions but managed to secure its top flight status.

It is currently the subject of a lengthy sale process and could, imminently, reveal further updates on the saga, which began last September when 94.1% stake owner, Farhad Moshiri, announced US-based 777 Partners as his preferred buyer.

However, a period of exclusivity for 777 expired at the end of last month, and fans now await news of further potential approaches, which could include a possible US-based group, or Crystal Palace co-owner, John Textor, who is seeking to offload his stake in Palace and has spoken about his ambition to invest in Everton

Last week Everton confirmed 777’s exclusivity period had run out, and said in a statement: “The club will continue to operate as usual, while it works with Blue Heaven Holdings (Moshiri’s vehicle) to assess all options for the club’s future ownership.

“The board of directors would like to thank everyone connected to Everton for their patience over recent months and reiterate its commitment to providing further updates when it is appropriate to do so through the club’s official communication channels.”