Premier League clubs set for ‘Abramovich ban’ amid ownership shake-up

Premier League clubs spend record £815m in January transfer window

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Premier League clubs will reportedly be put under new ownership rules that would prevent the likes of Roman Abramovich from being able to invest. The Government is set to bring in stricter regulations on football ownership and multi-millionaires who are unable to prove the source of their wealth will be unable to complete takeovers.

The Premier League is currently making more money than ever before with spending in the division dwarfing that of the other biggest European leagues. Manchester City, Chelsea and Newcastle are among the clubs with mega-rich owners. However, there have been concerns over a lack of regulation.

The Government has long stated plans to change this and the details of which have now been included in a paper that was leaked to The Sun. The plans would prevent clubs from being subject to takeover bids from shady moneymen in an attempt to reduce the risk of teams being exposed to cultural and financial ruin.

The rules will also apply to the EFL and National League with Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan hoping to implement them by the start of the 2024/25 campaign.

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In practice, the regulations would prevent any English club from being the subject of a takeover by anyone who could not prove the source of their income in a strengthen ‘fit and proper’ persons test. The rules would have prevented Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea had they been in place in 2003 while they may also have helped saved clubs like Bury from going under.

The regulations do not stop there either, with more restrictions put on clubs. Teams can only take part in tournaments that have been approved by the regulator, essentially putting a ban on the European Super League, while fans will also have a greater voice to prevent owners from radically changing badges and kits.

There will be penalties for noncompliance. Clubs will be taxed to fund the regulator and receive breach sanctions if they break the rules.

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The regulator will also seek to address the financial imbalance between the Premier League and the lower divisions. Richer clubs would be forced to pay a higher yearly levy to those smaller than them with the powers to redistribute the money throughout the pyramid if the FA do not bring in a ‘football-led’ resolution instead.

However, the regulator will not have any say on the price of ticket prices or interfere with fixture schedules. There are also no plans to allow alcohol to be sold more prevalently within stadiums like it is on the continent.

It remains to be seen what impact the new rules will have with the Government expected to officially announce the legislation imminently.

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