The Premier League has announced tougher rules for anyone looking to buy one of its clubs, including incorporating human rights in its new owner’s and directors’ test (OADT).
English top-flight clubs unanimously approved the changes, which will take effect immediately, at a shareholders’ meeting today.
Potential owners could now be banned from purchasing clubs if deemed to have committed human rights abuses.
The league has also expanded the list of offences resulting in disqualification to include violence, corruption, fraud, tax evasion and hate crimes.
In addition, any individual suspended by the Charity Commission, FCA, Prudential Conduct Authority, HMRC and Gambling Commission will also fail the OADT.
The full list of changes is:
- Decisions taken by the Premier League Board under the OADT will be subject to review by a new Independent Oversight Panel
- The threshold for ‘Control’ will be lowered to 25 per cent from 30 per cent
- Club Chief Executives to be brought within scope of the OADT, as will a new concept of ‘Relevant Signatories’, being individuals responsible for signing a range of key regulatory documents
- Owners’ and Directors’ Declaration form (Form 4) to be tailored to address individual and corporate directors
- A range of new Disqualifying Events have been added to the test, including
- A new Disqualifying Event for individuals/companies subject to Government sanctions
- A new Disqualifying Event for human rights abuses, based on Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020
- Extending the list of criminal offences resulting in disqualification, to include offences involving violence, corruption, fraud, tax evasion and hate crimes
- Extending the list of regulatory authorities, suspension from which will result in disqualification, to include the Charity Commission, FCA, Prudential Conduct Authority, HMRC and Gambling Commission
- Broadening the scope of the insolvency provisions, to enable the League to take action against individuals involved in previous insolvencies in a wider range of circumstances
- A new power for the League to stop those who wish to become ‘Directors’ where they are under investigation for conduct that would result in a ‘Disqualifying Event’ if proven
- Greater clarity and transparency over the due diligence to be conducted by the League on a takeover, with an agreed, published list of ‘Acquisition Materials’ that must be provided to the League to facilitate its due diligence
- Additional annual due diligence to be undertaken by the Premier League on incumbent Directors to ensure ongoing compliance with the OADT
- A range of increased transparency measures, including the requirement to publicly disclose individuals/companies disqualified under the OADT and an obligation on the League to create an annual report of compliance