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Man City challenge Premier League’s use of data firm in commercial income row

Man City challenge Premier League's use of data firm in commercial income row

Manchester City are accusing the Premier League of unfair treatment regarding the assessment of their commercial income.

The Guardian reports that City challenged the league’s reliance on Nielsen Sports to analyse the fair market value of their deals, given that the data company also works with several Premier League clubs.

City reportedly raised their concerns during a legal battle over Associated Party Transactions (APTs), in which clubs strike sponsorship or revenue deals with businesses linked to their owners.

The Premier League appointed Nielsen to enforce the APTs when the rules were implemented in 2021 with the approval of the top-flight clubs.

City argue that the system is flawed due to Nielsen’s connections to Premier League clubs. However, the Nielsen team policing APT rules for the league is reportedly isolated from the rest of its business.

The legal challenge also targets the very existence of APT rules, claiming they are unlawful and anti-competitive.

They were vehemently against APTs when it was first proposed three years ago and reaffirmed their stance on the rules in February this year.

If they are successful in their legal battle with the Premier League, the champions will seek financial compensation for perceived losses from sponsorship deals blocked after Nielsen’s analysis.

City claim the Premier League’s APT rules are stricter than UEFA’s and want them to soften their stance on the regulations.

The club’s legal documents allege that the rules discriminate against Gulf ownership, which is based on the fact that they were implemented after Saudi Arabian owners took over Newcastle United in 2021.

Three of City’s biggest sponsors have close links to their Abu Dhabi owners, including the shirt and stadium sponsors Etihad Airways, Etisalat and Experience Abu Dhabi.

The legal action has divided the top flight, with some clubs in agreement with their argument while others are strongly opposed to their claim.

City and the Premier League are preparing to lock horns in another potentially game-changing hearing in November.

The Premier League champions are facing accusations of 115 breaches of the Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR), although they have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

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