Manchester City chair warns Premier League is to become less competitive

Manchester City chairman’s, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, has claimed rules introduced during the past 12 months will make the Premier League less competitive and has called for more “sensibility in regulating”.

Mubarak’s comments were made in an official club interview before news emerged of City’s legal challenge against the Premier League which centres on associated party transaction (APT) rules.

APT rules govern how clubs strike sponsorship or revenue deals with parties related to their ownership. In February, clubs voted to approve tougher rules regarding how these are priced. An independent tribunal is set to hear the case next week.

In his annual end of season review, Mubarak was asked about the impact of such financial regulations. He said: “You won’t see the same level [of competition] as we’ve seen in the last years, because of the levels of regulations that have come into place over the last 12 months.

“The Premier League got to where it is today by being the most competitive league. So I hope there is a bit more sensibility in regulating. Always a balanced approach is good from all the leagues, be it in England or the rest of Europe.”

City are part of the City Football Group, a 12-strong multi-club organisation. Mubarak is concerned that other agreed regulations are preventing player loans and swaps, which CFG makes easier between the clubs under its umbrella. He said: “There’s also been a lot of restrictions now put in place on swaps and loans, so even that is now much more restricted. I think the level of manoeuvrability that was in place before that allowed teams to do what they were able to do in the past, is much more restricted this year and that’s going to be reflected, I believe, this summer.”

Separately, City face 115 charges of alleged rule-breaking related to financial fair play, the long-awaited hearing into which takes place in November. The club deny all wrongdoing and, in his review, Mubarak expressed frustration with this case being referenced whenever City enjoy success.

Manchester City became the first team in the history of English football to win four back-to-back league titles. Photograph: Gary Roberts Photography/Shutterstock

“I think the referencing is always frustrating,” he said. “Having it being talked about the way it’s being talked about. I can feel for our fanbase, and everyone associated with the club, to have these charges constantly referenced.

“We as a club have to respect that there is a process that we have to go through, and we’re going through it. It’s taking longer than what anyone hoped for, but it is what it is, and I’ve always repeated, let’s be judged by the facts, and not by claims and counterclaims.”

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola continues to consider his long-term future as City manager, with his current contract with the champions expiring next summer. Mubarak struck a hopeful note regarding the prospect of the Catalan agreeing a new deal. “We have had this conversation many times before, you know that, over the years of the contract,” he said. “Pep has always been fully committed to this club, fully committed to every contract that he has signed with us.

“This decision on his future is always a decision that we will take together, and I have no doubt that we will find, as always, we have done, the right solution that works for Pep and works for us.”

The Guardian