Manchester City has launched ‘unprecedented’ legal action against the Premier League

The Times claims the outcome could "dramatically alter the landscape of the professional game".

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 5th June 2024

Manchester City has launched what is being described as ‘unprecedented’ legal action against the Premier League over its financial rules.

Merely weeks after becoming the first club in English football history to win the league title four seasons in a row, and ahead of its own 115-charge hearing – which first came to light in February 2023, with City found to have broken Financial Fair Play rules around 100 times over a nine-year period, starting in 2009 and going on until 2018 – The Times exclusively revealed yesterday (4 June) that Manchester City are now taking legal action against the Premier League.

The Manchester club is attempting to end the Premier League’s Associated Party Transaction (ATP) rules, according to The Times and several other major news outlets following.

The rules in question are regarding the football organisation’s commercial and sponsorship deals with companies that are owned or associated with the same club’s owners – known as ‘Associated Parties’.

As things stand, according to Sky News and BBC News, the ATP rules dictate that the Premier League’s board is required to review each club’s transaction with the intent of assessing whether it believes they represent a ‘fair’ market value, and with an overall aim of helping to build “fairness” across the league as a whole.


According to the Premier League, the ATP rules work to end a “reliance on enhanced commercial revenues linked to the club’s ownership”.

Despite neither Manchester City or the Premier League responding to requests for comment on the widespread reports and hearing, The Times says it has seen a 165-page legal document in which City claim they are victims of “discrimination”, and that the amended rules were approved by its rivals to “stifle” the club’s success on the pitch.


The Sky Blues – which are famously owned by City Football Group Ltd, of which the majority owner is the Abu Dhabi United Group, following the takeover in 2008 – have reportedly called the voting system “a tyranny of the majority”.

The legal dispute between City and the Premier League will be settled during a two-week arbitration hearing beginning on Monday 10 June, according to The Times.

The Times’ reporter, Matt Lawton – who wrote the exclusive article – says he believes City’s legal action has “sparked a civil war” among other football clubs.


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The publication also claims the outcome of the hearing could “dramatically alter the landscape of the professional game”.

Featured Image – Lexy Ilsley (via Manchester City)