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Man City take the Premier League to court over ‘unlawful’ APT rules

Manchester City have launched a legal battle against the Premier League seeking the abolishment of the league’s Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules.

This unprecedented move will be settled in a private arbitration hearing starting next week, according to the Times.

The APT rules were introduced in 2021 and aim to prevent clubs from inflating sponsorship deals with companies linked to their owners, ensuring fair competition.

City claim the rules are unlawful and discriminatory. They argue that sponsors, like those with ties to their Abu Dhabi ownership, should have free rein to set sponsorship prices.

They believe the Premier League’s current system, which requires independent valuation for such deals, restricts their ability to raise revenue.

However, other clubs fear this move can destroy the league’s competitiveness. More than half of the clubs have sided with the Premier League.

They believe it would allow super-rich owners to spend unlimited amounts on players and infrastructure, bypassing Profit and Sustainability Rules.

This lawsuit could impact Man City’s separate hearing in November concerning 115 alleged breaches of financial regulations.

Sponsorship deals with Abu Dhabi-linked companies form a key part of these accusations. If the APT rules are deemed unlawful, it could strengthen their defence.

Both sides will field high-profile legal teams, making this a potentially groundbreaking case for English football.

Newcastle United will be watching keenly. The APT rules have prevented their uber-rich Saudi-based owners from splurging cash on big-name signings and rapidly transforming the club.

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