Top-flight clubs approve tougher financial rules

CLUBS could be banned from making transfers if the Premier League judges them to be in danger of falling into administration, under sweeping financial changes announced yesterday.<br /><br />The new rules, which were agreed by top-flight chairmen this week and are already in effect, require clubs to submit annual audited accounts and future financial plans. <br /><br />If the documents raise doubts over their viability as a going concern, the Premier League has the power to impose a ban on transfers and contract renegotiations.<br /><br />Richard Scudamore, the Premier League&rsquo;s chief executive, said: &ldquo;Touch wood, we have never had a club in the Premier League go into administration yet and we don&rsquo;t want one.&rdquo;<br /><br />Clubs also voted to introduce a minimum quota of home-grown players from next season. Each club will have to name a squad of 25 players, of whom eight must fall into that category. Under Premier League definitions, a player is home-grown if he has trained for three years under the age of 21 at an English club.<br /><br />The financial regulations are particularly pertinent for Liverpool, whose accounts last year contained a warning from auditors KPMG about their sustainability. But the Merseyside club yesterday eased fears by agreeing the biggest sponsorship in their history, a four-year deal with Standard Chartered Bank thought to be worth around &pound;80m.