Man City legal decision could cause Premier League 'demise' and change everything for Liverpool

Graeme Souness believes it would be the "beginning of the Premier League's demise" if Manchester City are successful in their legal challenge against the organisation's current sponsorship rules.

Earlier this week, the Times reported that a two-week arbitration hearing would begin on Monday as the Etihad outfit looks to end the Premier League's current Associated Party Transaction Rules, which they claim are "unlawful".

The rules, introduced in the wake of the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United in late 2021, are designed to ensure an equal playing field for all clubs in the Premier League and prohibit clubs from signing inflated sponsorship deals linked with companies linked to their ownership.

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City, though, who have deals in place with Etihad Airways - the national airline of the United Arab Emirates - insist the current APT rules have led to "discrimination" against the club and have allowed rival teams to stifle their success.

If City are successful in their legal case, Souness believes clubs like Liverpool would be unable to keep up with the financial might of the Etihad outfit and the competitiveness of the Premier League would suffer as a result.

"If Manchester City succeed in their legal challenge to the Premier League, potentially the competition will end up like Scotland with only two teams capable of winning it," wrote former Liverpool captain and manager Souness in his Daily Mail column.

"With the financial handcuffs off, City and Newcastle United will have the resources to outmuscle everyone. It would be the beginning of the demise of the Premier League as a competitive entity and people will start to lose interest.

"We love our league because it is so competitive. We love the fact the underdog can always spring a shock result - like Leicester winning the Premier League.

"City want the rules changed to suit them. They are making a very dangerous move by challenging the authority they signed up to and it is one that is bound to alienate not just the vast majority of clubs in the Premier League but supporters too.

"City’s decision makers are giving a master class on how to make your football club unpopular."

Since Pep Guardiola arrived at City in 2016, the club has won six Premier League titles in eight seasons, with Liverpool in the 2019-2020 campaign the last side to finish ahead of the Etihad outfit.