Manchester City’s legal battle against the Premier League has taken a surprising turn, as the club has now alleged “discrimination” and launched a legal action. This move could have significant implications for the English top flight.

City, who have been the dominant force in English football in recent years, are seeking to challenge the league’s associated party transaction (APT) rules, which they claim to be unlawful. They are also seeking damages as part of their legal action.

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The Premier League introduced stricter rules regarding APTs in February, specifically targeting clubs signing sponsorship deals with companies connected to their owners.

City’s dispute with the league is set to be resolved through a two-week arbitration hearing starting next week.

City’s rise to success has been aided by sponsorship deals with related parties in the Gulf, including their stadium and shirt sponsor, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.

However, they are currently facing 115 charges for alleged breaches of regulations and financial rules dating back to 2009, charges they vehemently deny. The hearing for these charges is scheduled for November.

The APT rules are designed to promote competitiveness within the Premier League, requiring clubs to demonstrate that their commercial deals reflect fair market value.

City, in their 165-page legal document, argue that they have been subjected to “discrimination” and criticize what they perceive as a “tyranny of the majority” aimed at stifling their success on the field.

If City succeeds in their legal fight, it could potentially allow the wealthiest clubs to determine the value of their sponsorship deals without independent assessment, further exacerbating the financial disparity within the Premier League.

Several clubs, between 10 and 12, have reportedly come forward in support of the Premier League’s defense against City’s claim, providing witness statements or letters detailing evidence. City’s legal action seeks damages, citing losses incurred due to the existing rules.

City alleges that the rules were implemented in response to the Saudi takeover of Newcastle in 2021, with rival clubs seeking to protect their own commercial advantages.

They accuse rival teams of “discrimination against Gulf ownership” and point to the comments made by a senior club executive to support their claim.