Premier League chief admits ‘fit and proper’ test is limited
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has admitted that the League’s “fit and proper” persons test is limited.
Scudamore, who conceded that there were limitations in a meeting with representatives of the Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly, also said the insolvency test, which allows a potential owner to take two clubs into insolvency before they are banned from owning a Premier League club, needed examining.
Scudamore did say that the tests would be further examined later this year with a view to making changes, but he was not able to explain what these alterations may be.
When asked about the leveraged buyout model, which has caused much anger amongst fans at Anfield and along the M62 at Old Trafford, Scudamore was relatively unconcerned, suggesting owners can purchase a club in any way they want.
The news of a potential tightening of the rules for the fit and proper persons test will no doubt bring some hope to Liverpool and Manchester United fans. Supporters of both clubs have been battling with their owners for a number of years, but with Scudamore stating that no rules could be implemented retrospectively it’s likely no action will be taken against the American owners of both clubs.
The Premier League, for the most part, is a members club, made up of the 20 clubs that populate the league. The rules are created by the owners of the club and merely enforced by Scudamore and others who work for the Premier League, allowing for the rules to work in the owners’ favour.
Perhaps it is then time for more outside influence on the rules and regulations regarding Premier League ownership.
Before the general election, Labour suggested that supporters should be allowed to have a considerable stake in their club, and arguably a plan of that nature would help ensure the long-term financial viability of many top flight clubs.
It is clear that something needs to change. As Portsmouth have shown the fit and proper persons test does not work and if we are to avoid a repeat of what happened at Fratton Park, an overhaul must surely be a priority.