Manchester City Football Club is gunning for the so-called ‘biggest sports law battle’ in history by hiring blue-chip lawyers to defend it against charges by the Premier League.
On Monday, the Premier League slapped onto Manchester City 100 charges relating to financial impropriety after 4 years of investigations.
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The Charges specifically touch;
Overstating sponsorship revenue and hiding true source of income, paying former Coach Roberto Mancini extra millions under a secretive contract, breaching profitability and sustainability rules, uncompliance with the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, failing to assist investigations from 2018-2019 and 2022 to 2023 plus more than 100 breaches of financial rules across nine seasons (2009 to 2018) and not giving full detail of player salaries.
These charges if proven by the Premier League could result into; the Club being expelled from the Premier League, deduction of its points, transfer bans, and the Club losing its previous titles.
According to The Lawyer UK Magazine, Manchester City’s legal battle with the Premier League is one of the biggest and most expensive sports law battles in history and the Club is taking the charges seriously.
It should be noted that Manchester City’s legal woes first came to light in 2019 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) fined the Club 10 Million Euros for failing to cooperate with Uefa instigated investigations.
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Manchester City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan said at the time that he would rather spend 30 Million Pounds on 50 best lawyers than accept that punishment, the Lawyer Magazine reports.
In an indicator of how seriously Manchester City is taking these allegations, the Club has instructed a top lawyer called David Pannick who is a King’s Counsel (KC) and quite often referred to as “Lord Pannick, KC.”
This lawyer has been at the center of some of the world’s most eye-popping legal wrangles.
For example, he represented former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the so called “partygate” scandal that focused on whether the Prime Minister had partied during the Coranvirus induced lockdown.
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Lord David Pannick, KC who bills 5000 pounds per hour on average could reportedly charge Manchester City a handsome fee of 80,000 pounds a day or 400,000 pounds a week if the case goes on to trial where he would have to work full time.
” Pannick is rarely instructed on first instance hearings given the extensive legwork required for such cases, combined with his high fees. Manchester City’s instruction of him indicates how seriously it takes the charges…”The Lawyer Magazine said.
In this legal case, all the lawyers involved are big boys in the legal arena and are familiar with each other having handled together cases of similar magnitude in the past.
David Pannick will go head-to-head with Adam Lewis, KC – his colleague at Blackstone Chambers, and top sports lawyer, who is on the Premier League’s side.
The Premier League is also understood by The Lawyer to have instructed top law firm Bird and Bird.
It is not clear when this legal dispute will kick off as no timeline has been released for it yet but the Head of the Premier League’s Judicial Panel, Murray Rosen, KC will appoint three members to the league’s tribunal to hear the case.
Benjamin Ahikiiriza is a Legal Writer And Digital Communications & Marketing Specialist majoring in Lawyers, Law Firms And the larger Legal Sector.
Benjamin currently Works as the Director of Content and Business Development At LegalReports.