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Man Utd chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe gives verdict on Man City suing the Premier League

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe insists he has sympathy with Manchester City’s legal action against the Premier League. City are suing the league in a bitter legal challenge that is reportedly set to conclude this week.

The Premier League champions’ lawyers claim that rules around sponsorship agreements are incompatible with UK competition law. Associated Party Transaction (APT) rules restrict owners from arranging large sponsorship agreements between the club they run and the companies they own or are associated with.

It is a separate legal case to City’s 115 charges, and also relates to players being transferred between two clubs with a shared ownership. The rules are also relevant to Man Utd, whose minority owners INEOS also have a majority stake in French club Nice.

Ratcliffe says that he understands why City are pursuing a legal challenge, claiming that United’s rivals are battling for an ‘open’ and ‘free’ market.

“I can understand why they are challenging it,” the British billionaire told Bloomberg. “You can understand why they would say that they want an open market, free market.”

City also allege the regulations discriminate against Gulf ownership. They are owned by Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, royalty of the United Arab Emirates, and are sponsored by several UAE organisations, including Etihad Airways.

City want compensation for the loss of earnings as a result of the restrictions, which were introduced in the wake of the takeover of Newcastle by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe is unhappy with a UEFA ruling that prevents him effectively transferring defender Jean-Clair Todibo from Nice to Man Utd. The Frenchman is believed to be of interest to the Red Devils in their hunt for defensive upgrades.

Ratcliffe claims Nice have been told they can sell Todibo to any Premier League club apart from United.

“They’ve said we can sell him to another Premiership club but we can’t sell to Manchester United,” the 71-year-old continued. “But that’s not fair on the player and I don’t see what that achieves.”

According to the Daily Telegraph, Ratcliffe is challenging UEFA’s verdict, but the governing body are keen to be strict with their rules around multi-club ownership. They do not want to be seen to be favouring certain clubs.

Meanwhile, United and Nice have been given the green light to both compete in the Europa League next season. However, they have only been allowed to do so as a result of Ratcliffe agreeing to place the Ligue 1 outfit into a blind trust.


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