Manchester City has launched legal action against the Premier League alleging “discrimination” in a move that could have far-reaching consequences for the English top flight, The Times reported on Tuesday.

The Times said the recently crowned champion would try to end the league’s associated party transaction (APT) rules, which it is reportedly claiming to be unlawful, and seeking damages.

The Premier League tightened rules regarding APTs, relating to clubs signing sponsorship deals with companies linked to their owners, in February.

The Times added the dispute between City and the Premier League would be settled after a two-week arbitration hearing starting next Monday.

Abu Dhabi-owned City sealed a fourth straight Premier League title last month, underlining its domination of the English game over the past decade.

Its rapid rise has been aided by sponsorship deals with a series of related parties in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is both City’s stadium and shirt sponsor.

In a separate case City, managed by Pep Guardiola, is facing 115 Premier League charges for alleged breaches of regulations and financial rules between 2009 and 2023 — charges it strongly denies. That hearing is reportedly set for November.

APT rules are designed to keep the Premier League competitive, requiring clubs to prove that commercial deals represent fair market value.

The Times report said City, in a 165-page legal document, argue it is a victim of “discrimination” and refers to a “tyranny of the majority” aimed at stifling its success on the pitch.

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All Premier League rule changes and major broadcast and commercial proposals require the approval of at least two-thirds of those who vote, or 14 of the 20 clubs.

If City is successful in its legal fight, it could enable the richest clubs to value its sponsorship deals without independent assessment, further widening the financial gulf within the English top flight.

The Times said between 10 and 12 clubs had come forward, providing either witness statements or letters detailing evidence, in support of the Premier League’s defence against City’s claim.

The Times said City is suing the Premier League for damages, referring to losses incurred as a result of the existing rules.

City say the rules were imposed at the instigation of rival clubs reacting to the Saudi takeover of Newcastle, which took place in 2021, with the aim to “safeguard their own commercial advantages”, according to the report.

City has accused rival teams of “discrimination against Gulf ownership”, citing the comments of one senior club executive, The Times said.