Man City 'launch legal action' against Premier League for rule implemented after Newcastle takeover


Manchester City have launched legal action against the Premier League in a bid to end the division's Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules - which was introduced after the Newcastle United takeover.

The dispute has become a battle between the most powerful football clubs in the country and will be settled following a two-week private hearing starting on Monday. The outcome could drastically change the outlook on the professional game.

According to The Times, City will attempt to end the APT regulations, which they claim are unlawful and were approved by rival clubs in an attempt to stifle their success. It's argued the rules are designed to stop clubs from inflating commercial deals with companies that relate to owners.

The rule was integrated in the wake of the Saudi-led Newcastle takeover to maintain the competitiveness of the Premier League. Instead, now sponsorship deals have to be independently assessed and will only be approved if they are considered as 'fair market value' to the rest of the division.

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If City are successful with their claim - which the report states some clubs fear they will be - it would allow them to boost the amount of money they can raise via commercial revenue. It means others, such as Newcastle, can benefit from deals generated from partners close to the ownership group.

City would be able to spend more on players, at a time when teams elsewhere are struggling to operate and spend more under strict Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR). The report says that the other 19 Premier League teams have been invited to participate in the legal action, with up to 12 stepping forward.

This comes amid a separate battle between City and the Premier League relating to the 115 alleged breaches of financial rules between 2009 and 2023. That hearing, expected to start in November and last six weeks, could lead to massive fines and even relegation for City.

It was reported last week that Pep Guardiola will leave City at the end of next season when his contract expires. This is after the Spaniard confirmed back in November that he would stay at the club even if they relegated down to League One due to the potential implications of the hearing.

"In the moment we are innocent until guilt is proven. I know the people want it. I know, I feel it. I will wait," Guardiola said at the time.

"Wait and see it and after the sentence has been done we will come here and explain it. But absolutely I will not consider my future [if] it depends [on] being here or being in League One. Absolutely. There is more chance to stay if we are in League One than if we were in the Champions League."