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Premier League moves for stricter ownership controls

The Premier League has moved to tighten controls on club owners in response to the Portsmouth disaster and general concerns surrounding investors and spiralling debt levels.

• Bank threatens Birmingham sale
• Parachute payments extended

The 20 Premier League clubs met in London on Thursday to discuss changes to its current vetting process for new owners. Proposals included the Premier League's ability to demand proof of current and future funds and its power to force a meeting with prospective investors in person. The tougher restrictions on potential owners would be encapsulated in a new "means and abilities" test, to complement the existing "fit and proper persons test".

The move comes after Portsmouth were docked nine points for becoming the first Premier League club to go into administration, a fate reached after the club changed ownership three times this season. Two of those owners, Sulaiman al-Fahim and Ali al-Faraj, appeared to lack the financial resources to invest in the club and instead drove it towards financial ruin.

Portsmouth are not the only club with investors who have turned out to be unsuitable, with Thaksin Sinawatra's involvement with Manchester City being another example of an individual being allowed in without enough guarantee on the security of their funding.

The Premier League clubs' collective debt, which sits around £2 billion, is causing concern that more clubs could go the way of Portsmouth if changes aren't made. The Premier League clubs are reported to have cautiously greeted the proposals, on which they will formally vote at the AGM in June.


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