Manchester City has launched an unprecedented lawsuit against the Premier League. According to The Times, the reigning champions are claiming that the division’s current Associate Party Transaction (APT) rules are unlawful. City officials even say that they are victims of discrimination. As a result, the club is seeking monetary damages from Premier League officials.

APT laws were previously introduced by the English top flight in December of 2021. The rules were then, however, tightened even more earlier this year. Premier League officials implemented APT rules to essentially create a more level playing field among their teams.

The law works in two ways. First of all, it prevents clubs from agreeing to sponsorship and commercial deals at inflated prices with businesses that are already connected to team ownership. Secondly, APT rules limit player transfer deals between clubs under the same umbrella. The laws were updated in early 2024 after rumors began to swirl that Newcastle wanted to sign midfielder Ruben Neves from Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal. Both clubs are owned by the same conglomerate.

A legal win in June could help City’s case against 115 charges

The court case regarding City’s lawsuit against the Premier League begins on Monday, June 10. The hearing will last around two weeks. Assuming that the club is successful in the coming weeks, it may very well enable City to raise even more money in dubious sponsorship agreements. In turn, the wealthy outfit would then have greater funds to spend on player transfers.

Other top English teams also fear that a win would help City in their other case later this year. Pep Guardiola’s club is currently facing 115 charges regarding a plethora of financial issues. Teams such as Everton and Nottingham Forest have already picked up punishments for breaking rules. City’s case has dragged on for over a year. The English champions are facing numerous charges in November.

Along with allowing them to spend even more money, a court win for City in June would also strengthen their case in the November hearings. The prosecution is accusing team owner Sheikh Mansour of using third parties to disguise certain payments as sponsorship revenue. If City end up winning their lawsuit against the Premier League, it would then give the club legal firepower in their fight against some of the 115 charges. Nevertheless, a chunk of the charges involved City failing to even cooperate with officials.

At least half of Premier League clubs side with division officials

The aforementioned report claims that Premier League officials have contacted their other clubs for help. According to the news outlet, between 10 and 12 English top-flight teams have already stepped forward. These clubs can provide witness statements and/or evidence to back the league’s case. Executives from these teams could feature in court during the hearing.

Although at least half of the Premier League’s clubs are in the division’s corner, at least one team is on City’s side. Sources at The Times would not reveal the name of the lone team.

Nevertheless, Newcastle may be a partner with the English champions due to their similar situation with Saudi Arabia. Chelsea, however, could also potentially be the club as well. The Blues have a sponsorship deal with Infinite Athlete, a company that lists team co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali as investors.