Premier League

Legal discussions around Premier League financial fair play (FFP) rules are set to continue and perhaps even escalate according to Sky News.

According to the media outlet, an unnamed Premier League club may initiate arbitration proceedings to prevent the introduction of new associated-party transaction (APT) rules.

The remaining 19 clubs of the Premier League were apparently informed of this on Thursday. Although as stated, the club in question has not been named, Sky reports that the team ‘is thought to be Manchester City’.

Speculation around City’s potential involvement in such a suit is unsurprising given that the team is facing investigation for 115 alleged violations of FFP rules dating back over a decade.

The club has also been vocally opposed to stricter ATP laws in the past. The rules in question, which City believes could violate English competition laws, would prevent clubs from signing high-value commercial partnerships with funds subsequently used for player transfers.

A source quoted by Sky explained the League’s new ATP proposals: “The whole point of the APT rules is to prevent clubs inflating revenues above fair market value by orchestrating transactions with parties with common ownership. Any attempt to block those is self-absorbed and will ultimately damage the game.”

Manchester City is owned by the City Football Group, the majority stake in which is held by Abu Dhabi United Group, owned by UAE royal family member Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The club came under the ownership of the UAE-based consortium back in 2008, after which it has embarked on a historic successful run which has seen multiple Premier League title wins as well as the team becoming the second English side to win the continental treble, joining cross-city rivals Manchester United as the only clubs to have done so.

However, this era has also seen the club come under scrutiny for alleged FFP breaches, but City has remained adamant that it has ‘‘irrefutable evidence” that will disapprove accusations against its commercial integrity.

Club finances have become a major talking point in English football of late due to some high-profile cases of the league enforcing its profitability and sustainability rules (PSR), with Everton and Nottingham Forest falling foul.

Everton were subject to a 10 point deduction earlier this year for failing to meet the requirements, and are now – alongside East Midlands side Forest – facing further consequences.

Meanwhile, English football could be set for more consolidated regulatory oversight as the government moves forward with plans to introduce a new football regulator to oversee club activity and interests, the result of the fan-led review into football which began in 2021.

Lucy Frazer, DCMS Secretary – who is overseeing the creation of the regulator as well as other government policies relating to sport – has also been engaging with Premier League clubs on the new ATP rules, according to Sky.

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