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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Thaksin remains innocent until proven guilty

Controversial Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra will only fall foul of the Premier League's 'fit and proper person' rules if he is convicted of a crime.

The former Thailand Prime Minister's takeover of City has been criticised by activists who claim Thaksin's time in power was characterised by abuses of human rights.

Thaksin - ousted in a bloodless coup last year - also faces corruption charges from the military-appointed government in Thailand.

But Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, claims they will only act if DrThaksin is convicted of a crime that conflicts with their fit and proper person legislation.

Speaking on BBC Five Live's Sportsweek programme, Scudamore said: 'If you have been convicted of certain offences, and there is a whole list, not just financial, clearly you are not allowed to be a director, owner or have ownership control in terms of shares, even held remotely.

'There is a self declaration when someone says they have not been convicted of these offences. Then we have a business intelligence service to go away and that declaration is correct.

'Our list doesn't cover human rights, but if anyone is convicted of the offences on our list and there is an equivalent in the UK, our fit and proper test will apply.

'But until anyone has been tried and found guilty of anything, as is the law in this country, we can't rule somebody out unless they are convicted.

'The truth is that in some parts of the world, human rights activists would rule out George Bush and Tony Blair from running a football club.

'Much as I understand that people think the Premier League runs the world, actually we don't. We run a league and there is a place where our job ends and governments and politicians take over.

'If the UK government say there is no problem with someone, it is not up to us to go around second guessing.

'As chief executive of the Premier League, I have a rule book to apply and a fit and proper person test.

'If the government says a certain individual is not suitable to have investment in this country, they would have stopped the movement of money and we would work with them on that basis.

'Until that happens we will administer our rule book as described. If he is found guilty of something then he would have to withdraw his interest from Manchester City, but that is all conjecture. Until then there is nothing to do.

'We have had an exchange of correspondence with the human rights people, but they should be meeting with the British government first of all.

'We don't run the country, we don't run the world. We run a very popular league and that is the extent of our role.'