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08th Jun 2022

Premier League clubs to debate changes to owners’ and directors’ tests

Callum Boyle

Premier League clubs

Clubs have voiced their concerns over some of the takeovers

Premier League clubs are set to debate changes to the league’s owners’ and directors’ test at their annual meeting on Thursday, which includes implementing bans on sales to nation states and leveraged buy-outs.

It comes after a number of clubs voiced their concerns after Newcastle United’s £300m Saudi-backed takeover, giving them an embarrassment of riches at their disposal.

Top-flight sides have also been left concerned by the takeover of recently-relegated Burnley by American investment firm, ALK Capital, and as a result, want tougher measures on the owners’ and directors’ test.

Premier League clubs

The Premier League has prepared a set of recommendations

As reported by the Daily Mailthe Premier League has prepared a set of initial recommendations to propose after speaking with all 20 clubs.

However, the league are unlikely to make any major changes until they hear the outcome of the ongoing negotiations over a government-imposed independent regulator.

Clubs are also expected to discuss the probability of including an ethical element to the test, however, that is unlikely to happen as any move such as that could lead to legal problems.

Premier League clubs are set to be presented with a final version of the Owners Charter – which has been introduced in response to the failed European Super League project.

Premier League clubs

The Premier League would have to vote on any decision

In previous years, the Premier League has always been sceptical about making the owners’ and directors’ test stricter due to the fear of restricting future sales and new prospective buyers.

Yet, the response to Newcastle’s Saudi-backed takeover has forced them into a radical rethink. Any proposed ban on state ownership though would require 14 of the 20 top-flight clubs to approve a vote.

The big six sides in particular have been particularly opposed to the state-owned takeover as an increase in government-backed takeovers could threaten to derail their place as one of the Premier League’s elite.

Meanwhile, Burnley’s relegation to the Championship has also led to worries over leveraged buy-out takeovers with the club’s owners, ALK Capital, taking out two loans already are in in talks about securing a third after their takeover last year.

Other items on Thursday’s agenda also include looking at improving clubs’ relationship with fans and formulate a response to the impending Gambling Act, which is expected to ban shirt sponsorship by betting companies.

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