- New test will check for human rights' abuses
- Must be passed yearly by current owners
- Premier League hopes it adds transparency
WHAT HAPPENED? After an outcry from Amnesty International and other human rights groups following the Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund-led takeover of Newcastle, the Premier League has unveiled stricter criteria for starting and maintaining ownership of clubs in the division.
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WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES? The newly-released guidelines place more of an emphasis on human rights records from potential and current owners. Specifically, the league can block directors if they are deemed to have been involved in a "disqualifying event."
WHAT IS CONSIDERED A DISQUALIFYING EVENT? The league revealed a list of disqualifying events:
- Individuals/companies subject to Government sanctions
- Involvement with human rights abuses
- Criminal offences, extended to: violence, corruption, fraud, tax evasion and hate crimes
- Suspension from any of the following groups: Charity Commission, FCA, Prudential Conduct Authority, HMRC and Gambling Commission
- Any financial issues deemed to potentially lead to insolvency. The league will also allowed to be able to take action against individuals involved in previous insolvencies
- Being under investigation for any of the above disqualifying events
WHAT COULD THIS MEAN FOR CURRENT CLUBS? Existing Premier League owners will now be subject to annual checks based on the criteria. That could leave clubs such as Newcastle - whose ownership group have been accused of a connection with alleged human rights' abuses in Saudi Arabia - called into question.
WHAT COULD THIS MEAN FOR FUTURE TAKEOVERS? The new regulations will inevitably be associated with the potential purchase of Manchester United. Qatari billionaire Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is among the bidders for the club, and could possibly be blocked from a potential takeover.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Premier League clubs approved the rules on Thursday, and they will come into effect immediately. It is hoped that the new regulations will also lead to some more transparency on the takeover process, Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol said.
WHAT'S NEXT? The rules will be implemented immediately and will be applied to those involved in the bidding to be the next man United owner - as well as retroactively to the likes of Newcastle and Manchester City.