Manchester City believe Arsenal are behind the plot to have their European ban upheld if the Covid-19 crisis prevents an appeal.
Eight Premier League clubs have written to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to demand that Pep Guardiola's men should be excluded from either the Champions League or Europa League next season.
City bosses have information from a number of trusted sources that the move was instigated by the Gunners – and are also angry that runaway league leaders Liverpool opted to join Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester, Wolves and Burnley in an attempt to crank up the pressure on CAS.
Arsenal refused to comment on the suggestion that they were the driving force behind the move.
But Sunday Mirror Sport understands that the Gunners will tell the reigning champions that their information is false if the Etihad club contact them directly about the matter.
City have appealed the Lausanne-based body after UEFA hit them with a two-year Euro suspension and £25million fine for breaking Financial Fair Play regulations.City were braced for the ban to be imposed – and began preparing the case for their defence last year so that the matter could be heard quickly to allow them to plan for next season.
But the coronavirus pandemic means CAS are now unlikely to be in a position to hear all the evidence until late in the summer.
City could ask for the ban to be suspended so that they can compete in Europe next season.
But with a £120million Champions League place potentially up for grabs, their rivals felt the need to make their feelings known to CAS as so-called “interested parties.”
City were expecting seven of the eight clubs involved to launch approach CAS for clarification on the matter.
But Liverpool's decision to become involved has come as a disappointment given Jurgen Klopp's men have already secured a place in next season's Champions League.
Relations between the Etihad and Anfield have been strained for years.
But the bad blood has been brewing between City and Arsenal for even longer.
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