What happens if Man City’s owners win their challenge against the Football League


By Tony Attwood

It is surely the ultimate irony that the calling of a general election (a key part of our democracy) in Britain has removed the chances of a Football Regulator Bill in relation to England, giving Manchester City – a club funded by the totally undemocratic Abu Dhabi group from the totally undemocratic United Arab Emirates – free reign.

This is not to suggest the rest of football is utterly democratic – of course that isn’t true, but it exists within the democratic framework of the United Kingdom, while fervently trying to undermine one of our institutions by demanding the right to spend anything it likes on gaining dominance.

It is also rather sad that some supporters of Manchester City appear to support the overthrow of the fundamentals of league football processes that the League’s rules are agreed by the clubs) ahead of anything else.

It is true of course that Labour’s manifesto promises to stop any future attempt to form a breakaway league of the Super League type and says it will put a regulator in place.  That then could mean that there could be a race between getting the Regulator bill through Parliament and up and running, and the attempt by the owners of Manchester City to show in court that the financial rules of the Premier League are unlawful.

Now of course there is no evidence beyond Manchester City’s say so that the current rules are unlawful.  So the remaining 19 clubs could win any court case, but it is also possible that Manchester City would win such a case – or could keep it running until the rest of the League run out of money.

That obviously would not make what they are doing right – it would in fact destroy competition in the Premier League just as Qatar Sports Investments’ purchase of PSG in 2011 resulted in the transformation of the French League.

A table of the top three in the French league since just before PSG were taken over by Qatar, up to today shows how it will go….


Season Winners Total number of titles
2007–08 Lyon 7
2008–09 Bordeaux 6
2009–10 Marseille 10
2010–11 Lille 3
2011–12 Montpellier 1
2012–13 Paris Saint-Germain 3
2013–14 Paris Saint-Germain 4
2014–15 Paris Saint-Germain 5
2015–16 Paris Saint-Germain 6
2016–17 Monaco 8
2017–18 Paris Saint-Germain 7
2018–19 Paris Saint-Germain 8
2019–20 Paris Saint-Germain 9
2020–21 Lille 4
2021–22 Paris Saint-Germain 10
2022–23 Paris Saint-Germain 11
2023–24 Paris Saint-Germain 12

10 PSG wins in 12 seasons does not suggest an even competition,  and indeed we are already approaching this sort of situation in England in which Manchester City have won six of the last seven titles.

Why would anyone other than the supporters of the victorious club think this is a good way for football to go?

Of course, I want to see Arsenal win the league again and of course, I have been disappointed that our two recent runners up spots were not titles instead.

But what I want is for Arsenal to win the title through the agreed rules, not by Arsenal suing the rest of the league on the grounds that the current rules of not right in order to keep winning the league.

There does seem to me to be only two ways out of this.   One is that Manchester City might lose the case (and I really have no ideas of how the legalities would work) and go off and form their own pan-European league.  Except that is what the Sports Regulator (if one is eventually appointed) would prohibit.

Now seeing the way Manchester City is behaving I find it hard to believe they would let anything as basic as an English law or a Sports Regulator get in their way, so I imagine they would then go ahead and do it anyway, leaving the Sports Regulator to fight Sheikh Mansour and his family in the courts.

The other resolution would be that Manchester City win their case, and the rest of the league clubs resign from the league.  In such a case the Regulator would again prohibit the formation of a new pan-European league but I wonder if they would stop English clubs from joining a pan-European league that specifically excluded clubs funded by states (such as PSG and Man C).  One which the new Sports Regulator would prohibit English clubs from joining.

That would leave supporters choosing to support a league in which Manchester City always won the title, or a European League which excluded English clubs.

It could be that we would then see three competitions running.  One would be a league of the City Group clubs and PSG and other such clubs – we might call it the Arab League.  And the other would be regular football clubs of the type that we know now – except the British clubs prohibited by the Regulator from joining.  And then a Football League for the rest of the English clubs.

It will be an interesting battle.  The media of course are not speculating on such things for if they do, Man C will probably withdraw their press passes and so they won’t get free seats and free drinks and … well you know.

But of course Untold doesn’t get any of these, so it doesn’t matter.


2 Replies to “What happens if Man City’s owners win their challenge against the Football League”

  1. Interesting article, until the very last section. You just cant stop yourself from having a go at the press. Is it really jealousy that you dont get press passes?

    Such a shame. You have some interesting thoughts on football but every time you spoil your article with stupid and repetitive comments on the media.

  2. Wow ,arsenal have outspent city over the last 7years as have Chelsea and Man Utd ,but conveniently it’s all about the money.

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