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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 7, 2008

Blatter rails against cash-rich investors

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called for tighter regulations on club ownership to deal with "out of control" investment in the Premier League.

Blatter addressed MEPs at the European Union on Monday when he outlined the need for greater controls over who is permitted to invest in the game.

The Swiss blasted the super-rich investors willing to buy and part with clubs "like you would sell a shirt", citing the example of former Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra, who sold up to Abu Dhabi United Group amid allegations of corruption in his homeland, Thailand.

"We have to be alarmed," Blatter said in The Times. "We have one Prime Minister from Thailand going back to his country and he sells his club like you would sell a shirt. Something is very badly wrong here.

"I don't know how it can be stopped, but there is always a danger that these people will just one day leave.

"You get people turning up with banker's guarantees who are not interested in football and then they lose interest in the clubs and leave. What happens to the clubs then?

"We are facing now investment in football, particularly the Premier League, that is out of control.

"English football is attractive to investors - it is a phenomenon of the era. The economic power of football is immense."

Blatter called on EU lawmakers to work with world football's governing body to draw up plans that would make it tougher for unscrupulous money men to make their profits and run.

"There are national laws in Switzerland, for example, when you buy property or make an investment, you must prove yourself. You have to prove your link with the area," he told BBC Sport.

"We must ask ourselves about what motivates these owners and are they really interested in the game or just making money?

"There must be better control of football's finances especially in the difficult climate we are facing. I urge UEFA to work with the EU to tighten up the rules, otherwise there will be big financial difficulties in the future."

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