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'Fit and proper' test introduced by Premier League

In an attempt to gain tighter control over club finances and ownership issues, a new ‘fit and proper persons’ test has been issued by the English Premier League. The announcement was made earlier this week in response to a request put forth by the government for the league to ‘reassess its relationship with money’, as reported by The Guardian.

As a result of the new regulations, if clubs fail to meet the standards of a new ‘going concern’ audit, they could be subject to player sales, transfer bans, or a sale of assets. According to Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore, clubs that are not up to par could be forced to disclose any shares held in excess of 10 percent, along with exposing the owners of the same.

Scudamore told The Guardian that revealing a legal shareholder only gives some indication as to a club’s ownership, with other shareholders existing behind the scenes. He feels that the fans and the league both have a right to know who holds a stake in each club.

While the Premier League board have been privy to these details all along, the new enforcement will push them to go public. This will not only help to calm the fears of the government, but also to prove financial stability to supporters.

The government has since responded to the change, with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport indicating that they find the Premier League’s new system encouraging. The latest ‘fit and proper persons’ test was explained to the department in a 30-page submission ultimately voted in by the 20 clubs.

While the new test shows commitment on behalf of the Premier League, the issue of leveraged buyouts remain in question, as previously raised by Culture Secretary Andy Burnham.

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