Premier League denies minister talks
Premier League administration have denied rumours that they are to take part in a summit with UK sports minister Richard Caborn. Concerns have been risen over recent months regarding the sale of a number of Premiership clubs to foreign entities. The English Premier League is becoming a foreign "billionaire's playground" claims the sports minister.
Whilst Caborn claims a meeting with Premier League chiefs has been scheduled the chiefs deny such talks. The recent purchases of Premiership clubs has expanded the global market and revenue at clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. Foreign takeovers have pumped millions into the UK economy and helped put English football back on the map. Whilst supporters cite 100 reasons why foreign investment is a good idea critics join in the debate with their own version of events.
Takeovers such as the Glazer family assuming control of Manchester United have been deemed unsustainable. The takeover left the club deeply in debt. Chelsea do not have this problem as they are backed by Russian billionaire Abramovich. However, after years of spending the Russian tycoon has now tightened the purse strings following disappointing results and speculation of unrest at the club. Foreign investment can be a big plus for a club and its supporters. However, as a whole it is pricing homegrown teams out of the market. The gap between the English Premier League and the Championship has been substantial for some time. However, with foreign investment and exponential increases in wages and transfer fees newly promoted clubs are struggling even more to gain a foothold in England’s top league. Clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea are spending more on transfer fees than the total turnover of some newly promoted clubs and their seems to be no limit to spending. Such wealth has a knock on effect for English football as a whole. With multi million dollar deals being dished out like loose change top Premiership clubs are attracting the best footballing talent the world has to offer. Year on year the number of English born players featuring in the first team of Premiership clubs is decreasing. A few clubs still fly the flag but in the vast majority key players are made up of foreign internationals.
The reported summit between sports minister Caborn and the Premier League comes following the takeover bid for Manchester City. The takeover by former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been deemed unsavoury by an MP in parliament. Thaksin has had his assets in his home country frozen after charges of corruption were levied against him.
Whilst the Premier League insists it has no issue with the nationality of club owners it is likely to review its criteria for takeover bids. The Premier League currently carry out a fit and proper persons test as an additional layer of regulation governing takeovers. New owners are vetted by the Premier League before a takeover is allowed. Given the status of Thaksin this vetting procedure may need to be revised.
If Thaksin Shinawatra is successful in his takeover of Manchester City it will mean 6 out of the 20 Premier League clubs are owned by foreign entities. The British takeover of Newcastle United is an anomaly whilst a number of other clubs including Arsenal and Blackburn provoke interest from overseas.
Tags: Premier League, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, English Premier League, Manchester City