Football Governance - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by the Premier League


Overview of the structure of the Premier League (A-E)

—  Context and relationship with other footballing bodies.

—  Objectives - investment led virtuous circle.

—  Economic impact—more than football.

—  Football solidarity—benefits to every level of the game.

—  Premier League and Supporters - listening to their needs and wants.

Q1.  Should football clubs in the UK be treated differently from other commercial organisations?

—  Historical context of the development of the game.

—  Working within a legal and regulatory framework.

Q2.  Are football governance rules in England and Wales, and the governing bodies which set and apply them, fit for purpose?

—  Development of Premier League Rule Book.

—  Areas of responsibility.

—  Implementation of the Burns Review.

Q3.  Is there too much debt in the professional game?

—  Context and use of debt in professional football.

—  Response to the changing nature of debt in professional football and the wider economy.

Q4.  What are the pros and cons of the supporters trust shareholding model?

—  Neutral about ownership models.

—  Funding of supporter groups.

Q5.  Is Government intervention justified and, if so, what form should it take?

—  What necessitates Government intervention.

—  The strength of the English game.

—  Where Government intervention is justified.

Q6.  Are there lessons to be learned from football governance models across the UK and abroad, and from governance models in other sports?

—  Development of governance models.

—  Specific characteristics of differing and comparative governance models.


A.1  The Premier League was formed in 1992 and is composed of the top 20 football clubs in England, playing 380 matches in each season. It is a private company wholly owned by the member clubs at any one time, with an additional share held by the Football Association (The FA). The Premier League Rule Book of the Premier League is the expression of a contract between the clubs as to how the competition should be run, how relations between clubs should be conducted and how disputes should be resolved, and is approved by The FA annually for approval. The FA is the national governing body for football in England and is responsible for regulating on-field matters, with FIFA responsible for the regulation of football at world level. UEFA is responsible for the organisation and regulation of cross-border football competition in Europe.

A.2  Each individual club is independent; within the Laws of football and the law of the land each is free to make its own decisions. In a very competitive environment clubs decide what their ambitions are and manage them accordingly. Missing out on the UEFA Champions League at the upper end of the League, or being relegated at the lower, creates challenges. But, as Professor Stefan Szymanski has pointed out, English football clubs are very resilient with 95% of the clubs in the Football League in 1923 still in existence today and the vast majority within two divisions of their 1923 position. The Premier League's responsibility is to ensure that the overall system is healthy with as many clubs as possible competing to be successful within a framework where the penalties for failure, however real, do not damage the structure and credibility of the League itself nor threaten the sustainability of individual clubs. Risk taking is at the heart of how clubs compete and underpins the high levels of excitement in the English game but the regulatory framework needs to ensure that such risk taking is handled responsibly.

A.3  We welcome the opportunity to submit our evidence to the Select Committee and we would also welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with the Committee at an oral hearing. The FA have shared their response with us and we endorse their observations. In the interests of brevity we have sought to avoid repeating their views.


B.1  The Premier League's principal objectives are: to stage the most competitive and compelling league with the best prepared world class players competing in high quality, safe and comfortable stadia, and to develop clubs to levels where they can compete effectively in Europe.

B.2  The distribution of central revenues is equitable, unlike the unequal distributions in Spain and Italy (Annex 1). Playing standards are high—since 2007 UEFA's Association's Coefficient has placed the Premier League first, followed by Spain, Italy, Germany and France. According to UEFA, the standards of the Premier League relative to other leagues in Europe have risen steadily in the last 18 years (Annex 2). England also has more teams capable of competing at the highest level than other large footballing nations in Europe (Annex 3).

B.3  High levels of interest generated by high quality, competitive, football generate commercial returns. These are re-invested in the game to raise standards even further, generating greater fan interest which stimulates further commercial revenues which are then re-invested.

B.4  This re-investment includes a substantial commitment to Youth Development (YD). Over 2,700 boys are in training at Premier League club Academies and Centres of Excellence. The Premier League contributes to the costs of YD in the Football League. The Premier League and its clubs are committed to generating Home Grown Players (HGP), with over 95% of young players in training being British. Recent Rule changes have strengthened this commitment further, with a squad limit and HGP quota for first team squads. A summary of Premier League support for YD is at Annex 4 and Squad Rules are at Annex 5.

B.5  The community origins of Premier League clubs are reflected in the extensive community programmes delivered by both the Premier League and Member clubs. Premier League funds also support the Football League Trust and the community activity of clubs in the Football League. The Football Foundation, a tri-partite agreement between the Premier League, the Government and The FA, is a major investor in grassroots facilities and is also responsible for the Football Stadium Improvement Fund which directs Premier League funds towards making football stadia in the lower leagues safe and secure. This community programme (Annex 6) is the most substantial undertaken by a single domestic sporting body anywhere in the world.


C.1  Competitive and compelling football is the principal objective of the Premier League, however playing success has led to continuous economic growth generated by buoyant attendances and strong media and marketing revenues (Annex 7).

C.2  This revenue growth is reflected in the contribution made by Premier League clubs to their local economies, particularly in smaller urban communities such as Blackpool, Sunderland and Stoke. Larger cities such as Manchester also gain from the direct and indirect economic benefits of being the homes of successful football clubs. Tourism and the hospitality industries are beneficiaries, and the Premier League partners with the Government's tourism agency VisitBritain to encourage tourists to visit the UK to watch football.

C.3  The popularity of football makes a contribution to the UK's creative and communications industries. The Premier League itself runs a global television service and website. Each club has a website and many have their own TV channel. Television, radio, print and internet media all use football to attract consumers, while the manufacture and retail of television, radio, internet and mobile equipment is encouraged by the continued growth in the popularity of football.

C.4  The public sector gains directly from the economic growth enjoyed by football in the last 20 years. Deloitte figures suggest that the continued growth in football revenues and the increased levels of taxation—notably income tax, National Insurance, VAT and UBR—together mean that tax revenues from football in England will exceed £1 billion in the coming tax year.

C.5  The banking crisis and the arrival of much straitened banking circumstances pose new challenges to clubs in the Premier League. Loans and investment funds are much harder for football clubs to achieve, just as they are for households and companies. Business models adopted by clubs vary and so some are more affected than others, but on balance, healthy revenue growth through the recession has enabled Premier League clubs to emerge so far less threatened than much of the rest of the British economy, demonstrating the strength and sustainability of the English model.


D.1  The success of the Premier League has not harmed the rest of English football. Attendances in the Football League have risen by 59% since the formation of the Premier League and the value of Football League media rights has also risen steadily. It currently stands at £280 million over three years giving the Football League the 7th highest league turnover in Europe. The FA enjoys a similar history of growth. Revenues from The FA Cup, matches at Wembley and from England's media and marketing rights are strong, with FA turnover up 185% since 2000.

D.2  The involvement of Premier League clubs contributes to the revenues of the League Cup and The FA Cup. Cooperation between the Leagues and The FA includes achieving a balance of match dates and kick-off times to minimise timing clashes of broadcast matches and commitment to protecting the status of the Saturday 3.00 pm kick-off, with no matches broadcast in the UK during the protected period of 2.45-5.30 pm.

D.3  Direct financial support from the Premier League to lower league football includes parachute payments to relegated clubs for four years, meaning that up to 12 clubs in the Football League at any one time could be in receipt of such payments. Other clubs in the Championship receive an average of £2.2 million each from Premier League funds. Clubs in Leagues One and Two receive an average of £350k and £240k respectively, and the Blue Square Conference receives £1.6 million. Premier League finance underpins Football League community programmes and Youth Development. Of the Premier League's income, £162 million (13%) is distributed away from Premier League clubs for the benefit of others.


E.1  English football has some of the most passionate supporters in the world of football. Gates in the Premier League average about 350,000 per match weekend, with an occupancy rate over 92%. The Football League averages 375,000, with the Championship the 5th best in Europe, significantly better than those in Bundesliga 2.

E.2  Supporters attending matches have benefitted from over £2 billion in expenditure on stadia and facilities since the formation of the Premier League. Their interests are protected by the requirement for each club to meet the standards of their Supporters' Charters and Supporter Liaison Officers at each club work closely with fans to improve the match-day experience and the relationship between fan and club. Away attendance is encouraged by Rules which insist on a minimum number of tickets for away fans at prices as good as the equivalent tickets for home fans.

E.3  The inevitability of failure in football (only one team can be champions, only four in the UEFA Champions League, three must be relegated) means that at any one time some fans will be unhappy. Fans complaining about individual players, the team as a whole, the manager, the Board or the owners have always been a feature of football, wherever it is played and whatever its governance model. However, the steady growth in match attendance to a level 62% greater than in 1992 would suggest that fans in England believe that playing standards are significantly higher and the entertainment greater. Television audiences are also robust, suggesting that so far we have managed to balance the expansion of live football on TV with live gates. Full and noisy stadia are an important part of the spectacle offered by Premier League clubs, vital to the enjoyment of both attending and armchair fans. Over-exposure on television to the detriment of the spectacle is a concern as there can be an impact on attendance. The current 138 matches televised live in the UK tend to focus on the most attractive matches, the ones most likely to sell out anyway.

E.4  The Premier League consults widely with the many different categories of fans at home and abroad, ranging from dedicated season ticket holders to casual attenders, from those who subscribe to Pay-TV sports channels to those who watch in pubs and clubs, and those whose main engagement is via free-to-air highlights or the internet. Our research indicates a high degree of satisfaction, with attending fans continuing to place winning football played attractively in quality, safe stadia with good sightlines at the top of their priorities. Other concerns appear to have much less salience, although of course vocal minorities are able to articulate a wide range of demands.

E.5  This continuing programme of research is undertaken to ensure that we understand the full range of fan opinion, not just that of the most vocal. A summary description of our extensive research is attached at Annex 8. We understand that the Committee is commissioning private advice from experts and we would like to offer the Committee the opportunity to access any of our research or invite Populus, the research company that carried out the surveys of fans, to present their information to you.


Q1. Should football clubs in the UK be treated differently from other commercial organisations?

1.1  Professional football clubs in England emerged in the 1870s and 1880s as an expression of the drive to play the best possible football to put on show for the local fans. That continues to be the motivation, widened today through technology to include fans around the world. Nineteenth century club owners did not embark on this course to make profits, the conventional purpose of commercial organisations, a feature which has remained over the intervening years. Clubs have often been the beneficiaries of owner investment, a vital feature of English football since the beginning. This investment typically allows a club to play to a higher standard than would otherwise be possible simply from its own operations and prevents the established order becoming entrenched. In that sense football clubs are not the same as most commercial organisations. Each Premier League club is a trading organisation of significant size and, by Rule, a registered UK company which fully expects to meet the obligations and enjoy the freedoms that this status confers.

1.2  Each club is deeply rooted in and engages with its own community far more than the vast majority of commercial organisations. The vast range and quality of community programmes is greater than any undertaken by other sporting bodies. The importance of each football club within its own communities is reflected in football rules and practices which make it very hard for an individual club to go out of existence.

1.3  Football clubs also differ from conventional businesses in being part of a League. A League is greater than the sum of its parts, with the quest for honours and to avoid relegation adding interest for fans and value to the matches, while the competition itself has to be organised to a high standard, with high integrity and with all clubs being treated fairly. One club going out of business, being unable to complete its fixtures, would damage the interests of every other League member and the integrity of the League itself. Our League therefore is a group of clubs that both co-operate together and compete against each other and where the extinction of a competitor damages them all. This is reflected in the collective selling of media and other rights derived from League activity, ensuring that the value earned from competing in our League is distributed in a way that reflects the overall strength of the League as well as the appeal of individual clubs and the need for the League to be competitive throughout.

1.4  The Premier League supports the view that football should be subject to the normal application of the law, with the specific circumstances of sport being taken into account within the law. We do not support the idea that sport should benefit from exemptions from the law.

Q2.  Are football governance rules in England and Wales, and the governing bodies which set and apply them, fit for purpose?

2.1  The Premier League Rule Book began as 142 Rules and has evolved to meet changing demands and circumstances to stand at over 800 Rules today. A summary of the most significant recent changes is attached at Annex 9, including a strengthened Owners' and Directors' Test, a requirement for demonstrating viable finances at the start of each season or at change of ownership, and prohibition of third party ownership. The Rule Book, Premier League policy and all major spending decisions are agreed by the Shareholders (ie the 20 member clubs) who meet at least five times a year. The FA holds a special share and is present at Shareholder meetings. Day-to-day decisions are taken by the Premier League Board and reported to Shareholders. Disputes between individual clubs or between a club and the League, if not resolved at executive level, are referred to independent tribunals and panels, made up of appropriate experts. The arbitration procedure meets the requirement of the Arbitration Act and cases before the courts have shown it to be robust and legally defensible. Coordination between the Premier League, the Football League and The FA is integral to the working of English football and is achieved by close links at executive levels, by a series of bi-lateral and multi-lateral forums for all issues of significance and through the regular meetings of the Football Management Team.

2.2  Matters affecting professional football are overseen by the Professional Game Board (PGB) of The FA which reports to The FA Board and Council.

2.3  In an intensely competitive environment, in which wide ranging opinions are passionately held, it is inevitable that disagreements and disputes will occur. It is also inevitable that successes for some clubs mean that others will be deemed to have failed. The test for governance is not whether challenges arise, but rather that when they arise they are dealt with fairly, promptly and effectively, that lessons are learned in that Rules and their application are developed further, and that the overall system remains healthy.

2.4  It is always the case that improvements in governance can be made. The Premier League supported the recommendations of the 2004 Burns Review and, while the existing governance system has dealt with recent challenges in a better way than is often reported, we continue to hold the view that its recommendations should be fully implemented.

Q3.  Is there too much debt in the professional game?

3.1  Debt is a feature of the modern economy. The household sector carries £1.46trn in debt while the Government presides over total net debt of over £860 billion and is adding to that debt burden at the rate of around £150 billion per year. As for all debt, the key questions are whether the burden can be financed without jeopardising the economic health of the debtor, whether it is backed by assets and whether the trend indicates that borrowing is under control.

3.2  Prior to the banking crisis, debt in the Premier League reached approximately £3.1 billion, against assets of about £2.5 billion. This reflects the relative ease of credit at the time, the high (and rising) asset values in English football, and the fact that the costs of carrying debt are allowable against tax, thus encouraging owner investment to be held as debt rather than equity. Since the pre-crash peak, it is clear that clubs have taken active steps to reduce levels of debts, evidenced by the recent transactions at both Liverpool and Manchester United.

3.3  The banking crisis and the accompanying recession has created problems throughout the UK economy. In the case of Portsmouth FC it exposed high-risk strategies and poor management, and led to the club going into administration and receiving a nine-point penalty. Portsmouth FC has now stabilised in the Championship on a firmer financial basis. In general, Premier League clubs have survived the continuing economic turbulence reasonably well. Overall income has increased, mainly due to the strong interest in the Premier League in overseas markets, although clubs are having to work extremely hard to maintain attendances and income from hospitality. Concern about costs has led to a series of regulatory changes (listed in Annex 9) and the Premier League fully supports the objectives of UEFA's Financial Fair Play proposals for teams in European competition.

Q4.  What are the pros and cons of the supporters trust shareholding model?

4.1  The Premier League is neutral about ownership models. There is no evidence to suggest that any single model is better than others and in a dynamic, rapidly-changing environment there is strength in flexibility and diversity. The top level of English football needs to be competitive with the best in Europe if it is to meet the demands of fans. Ownership models need to deliver effective leadership, clear and timely decision-making and the ability to raise finance. Provided supporter ownership can meet these tests then there are no reasons why it should not be successful and the Premier League supports The FA's evidence to the Select Committee in this regard.

4.2  Premier League funding via the Football Foundation helped sustain the expansion of Supporters Direct (SD), the umbrella body for the Supporter Trust movement. Last year the previous Government decided to focus its Foundation funding to sports participation projects only. As this excluded SD the Premier League has become SD's sole funder.

Q5.  Is Government intervention justified and, if so, what form should it take?

5.1  In a free society the case for Government intervention is usually based on arguments that restrictions on the freedom of individuals and organisations to take their own decisions are justified because of negative impacts on others. The failure of the market to deliver desirable public outcomes may also lead to intervention and in such circumstances the Government or its agencies might do a better job. It is far from proven that these conditions exist in the case of football.

5.2  Football in England is by-and-large successful, with fans attending Premier League and Football League matches in greater numbers and TV audiences robust. As indicated, the Premier League is currently at the top of UEFA's league rankings while the England football team is ranked sixth out of 203 in the world by FIFA. While some might wish this ranking to be higher it compares well with other sports (English cricket is currently third out of the nine nations playing top-level cricket, English rugby stands at fourth out of the 94 rugby nations). Premier League football is attractive enough to be the most watched domestic sporting competition in the world, bringing fast-growing revenues to the UK economy and establishing the Premier League and its clubs as positive British symbols. In a highly competitive League there will always be clubs failing, just as there will always be clubs on the rise. The temporary periods of failure endured by some clubs do not mean that the system as a whole is failing. Premier League research earlier this season into the attitudes of fans suggests satisfaction levels are high, with close to 80% indicating that, on balance, they are satisfied with their club.

5.3  The all-round quality of football in England was thought to be the strongest argument in support of England's recent bid to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, a claim advanced by a wide range of opinion both domestic and international. The failure of the Bid does not invalidate the arguments on which it was based.

5.4  Government intervention in individual sports is justified when those sports need public money to sustain high standards at the elite level or where public sector action is required to achieve higher levels of participation in sport at the grassroots level. English football at the elite level is not in this position although it is always ready to work with Government to invest jointly in the pursuit of shared objectives, particularly in encouraging grassroots activity.

5.5  Government intervention is also justified in the areas of stadium safety and security and all clubs welcome the statutory framework that seeks to guarantee high standards. The failings of the 1970s and 1980s exposed the many problems that then prevailed and Government action was necessary. Since then over £2 billion has been spent on stadium improvements, attendances have risen steadily, injury levels are very low and police reports of incidents and arrests have declined sharply.

Q6.  Are there lessons to be learned from football governance models across the UK and abroad, and from governance models in other sports?

6.1  Sports governance for each sport tends to be a combination of sport-specific rules developed over many years in distinctive national environments and more generic rules and standards developed as a result of greater international competition. In addition, the evolution of sport rules have been characterised by the extensive exchange of ideas, initially with Britain having much to offer the rest of the world and more recently a truly global traffic in best practice, innovation and imitation. There is no single "best" model, nor can successful models from one particular cultural, historical and economic context be readily transplanted to another. The franchise model works well in the USA but does not fit with British sporting traditions. The highly regulated German model of football governance clearly works well in the context of Germany, but does not deliver the success at club level that would be expected from a country with the largest population in western Europe, the biggest GDP, the biggest fanbase, some of the richest clubs and a history of state aid. German football also fails to sell globally, suggesting that its attractions tend to be domestic. The Spanish football model produces two great clubs but suffers from a lack of competitiveness within its top League, with economic problems common amongst the smaller clubs.

6.2  As noted above, the Premier League's Rules have expanded from 142 20 years ago to over 800 today. This development has included incorporating international influences, most recently from the adoption of a number of Rules to align financial regulation more closely with the principles of UEFA's Financial Fair Play. Other imports include rule changes to conform with international anti-doping objectives. The Premier League will continue to learn from best practice elsewhere, conscious always of the need to ensure that lessons are applied appropriately given the specific traditions and circumstances of English football.



Broadcast Revenue Distribution Ratios—Top Club/Bottom Club (four major European Leagues)
Premier LeagueGermany (Bundeßliga) Spain (Primera Liga)Italy (Serie A)
1.49 : 12.11 : 1 12 : 113.5 : 1



Real Madrid401.4
FC Barcelona365.9
Manchester United327.0
Bayern Munich289.5
AC Milan196.5
Hamburger SV146.7
AS Roma146.4
Olympique Lyonnais139.6
Olympique de Marseille133.2
Tottenham Hotspur132.7
Schalke 04124.5
Werder Bremen114.7
Borussia Dortmund103.5
Manchester City102.2
Newcastle United101.0



NationalityScholars Students
British160 1,705
English124 604
Irish N.I4 2
Scottish3 0
Welsh4 11
Total British295 2,322
Other46 117
Total Registered341 2,439
% British87% 95%

* Students and Scholars means players (other than contracts, trialists or amateurs) registered in the age groups, U9 to U21.

£m Max £m
Premier League Clubs (average £2.4m per Club) 48.05.5
Premier League contribution to Football League YD 5.5
FA Contribution to Football League YD 6.8
Annual Investment in Youth Development 60.3


As of Season 2010-11, Premier League Clubs must name a squad list of up to 25 players, of which no more than 17 can be over the age of 21 and not home grown, with an unlimited number of players under 21 being eligible for selection. Changes to the squad list may be made during a transfer window.

"Home Grown Player" means a Player who, irrespective of his nationality or age, has been registered with any Club (or club) affiliated to the Football Association or the Football Association of Wales for a period, continuous or not, of three seasons or 36 months prior to his 21st birthday (or the end of the Season during which he turns 21).


Community Funding2010-11
Football Foundation12.0
Football League8.1
PL Domestic20.3
PL International3.0
Total community investment43.4
Solidarity Payments
Football Leagues 1 & 2 Solidarity 12.9
Football League Championship Solidarity 43.5
Parachute Payments62.2
Total Solidarity & Parachute Payments 118.6
% of Premier League Turnover13%
% of UK Broadcasting Revenue22%


(1998-99 TO 2009-10)

(1995-96 TO 2009-10)


The Premier League manages a research programme for its own purpose and on behalf of the 20 member clubs. The programme content includes attendance and audience data, fan research and marketing intelligence.

Establishment SurveyAn annual football fan establishment survey, comprising random sample telephone interviews in the UK to quantify different types of fans and the various levels of engagement that the general public has with the Premier League and its member Clubs. Report published via the research website in August.
Club Match Attender SurveyAn annual bespoke match attender survey for all Clubs, comprising online interviews sampled from Club databases. Report published via the research website in January.
Football Nation SurveyAn annual survey of the football nation, comprising 10,000 individuals representing a broader set of football fans, beyond season ticket holders and match day attenders. Report published via the research website in January.

Surveys representative of the 'Football Nation' will be conducted by the Premier League periodically to cover relevant and topical issues. Reports will be published via the research website.

Premier League Fan PanelAn online Panel of 10,000 people, representing Premier League fans and followers with weighting based upon the establishment survey.

Surveys representative of 'Premier League fans and followers' will be conducted by the Premier League periodically to cover relevant and topical issues. Reports will be published via the research website.

Focus GroupsFan focus groups to identify and explore in depth the key drivers shaping behaviour, interest, attitudes and opinions of Premier League fans and followers. Reports will be published periodically via the research website.
Key Stakeholder ResearchDepth interviews and discussion groups with opinion leaders and stakeholders (eg representing legislators, advisors, policy makers and the media) to monitor attitudes and opinions on reputational and public policy issues associated with the Premier League and its Clubs. Reports will be published periodically via the research website.

Football ScoutA syndicated market research tracking tool (10,000 nationally representative sample built from 200 per week over 50 weeks each Season) measuring league popularity and providing bespoke Club data about supporter bases, attitudes, interests, opinions, behaviour, sponsor awareness and other key issues. Published via the research website monthly.
Sponsoring 21+A syndicated market research tool (1,000 nationally representative sample) measuring league popularity and providing bespoke Club data about supporter bases, attitudes, interests, opinions, behaviour, sponsor awareness and other key issues in 30 key International markets benchmarked against the UK. Published via the research website in August 2011.

Attendance DataMatch attendance data for all Barclays Premier League matches. Published via the research website monthly.
Audience DataBARB TV audience data (inc overnights and consolidated) from the UK is collated across all Competitions and for all programmes involving the Clubs. Published via the research website weekly.

TV audience data from international markets is collated across all Premier League Live Licensees (and sub-licensees where appropriate) for the Barclays Premier League and all related programmes. Published via the research website bi-monthly.

A global summary report of all the above domestic and international TV data is published via the research website bi-monthly.


Date of implementationEffect of Rule PL Rule
September 2009Scrutiny of club finances: C.78-C.90
Club to submit annual accounts, interim accounts and future financial information;
Clubs must satisfy the Premier League Board that no transfer fees or sums payable to or in respect of employees are overdue;
The Premier League Board scrutinises the submissions to ensure that the auditors' opinion on the accounts is unqualified, that the club is not in arrears with regard to its transfer/employee payments, and that the club will be able to pay its football debts and fulfil its fixtures until at least the end of the following season;
If the Board concludes that the club will not be able to do so, it can impose a transfer embargo and/or require the club to adhere to an agreed budget.
June 2010The financial scrutiny regime was extended to promoted clubs who must submit all the required information within weeks of being promoted to the Premier League. C.88
June 2010The financial scrutiny regime also extended to give the Premier League Board the ability to look again at a club's finances if there is a change of control or ownership. The Board will require updated future financial information and have the powers outlined above if not satisfied that, after the change, the club will be able to fulfil its obligations as a Premier League club and pay its staff and its football debts.

The Board also has power to require incoming owners to meet with it and provide evidence of the source and sufficiency of any funds which they propose to invest in the club.

June 2010Each club must certify to the Premier League that its liabilities to HM Revenue and Customs in respect of PAYE and NIC are up-to-date. This certification must be given each quarter.

Where the Board reasonably believes that a Club is behind in its HMRC liabilities, it may impose a transfer embargo and/or require the Club to adhere to an agreed budget.

June 2010Any grant of security by a Club over central funds due from the Premier League must be fully disclosed to and approved by the Premier League. C.55
June 2010A club may only assign its entitlement to future instalments of a transfer fee to a recognised financial institution.

Taken together with the requirement for incoming owners to satisfy the Board about the source of new funding, and the fact that all transfer fees and agents' fees must be paid either via the Premier League or the FA "clearing houses", this provision illustrates the work undertaken to ensure transparency of money flows into and within the Premier League.

June 2010Increased parachute payments to relegated clubs were introduced. This was part of the increased "solidarity" package with the Football League in general, whereby financial assistance to and for the benefit of Football League clubs was greatly enhanced. Further, the rules of both leagues were aligned in key areas with a commitment to further discussion and alignment of rules going forward. This will ensure the sharing of best practise across professional football.

Date of implementationEffect of Rule PL Rule
June 2009Events in an individual's history which can prevent him from becoming an owner or a director of a Premier League club were significantly extended to include:

A conviction in respect of which an unsuspended sentence of at least 12 months' imprisonment was imposed;

A conviction for an offence which could reasonably be considered to be dishonest regardless of the sentence imposed.

Further, a provision was included in Premier League Rules that a person who is prohibited by law from entering the United Kingdom, or transacting business here, cannot acquire any shares in a Premier League Club.

In addition, a requirement was introduced whereby prospective directors and owners of Premier League Clubs had to be assessed under the test before taking up their role.

June 2009Clubs must disclose not only to the Premier League but also publicly who owns interests of 10% or more in the Club. V.11-V.13
June 2010The list of events which prevent an individual from becoming an owner or director of a Premier League Club were further extended to include the following:

A suspension or ban from another sports governing body (whether a UK body or one based abroad);

A suspension, disqualification, or striking off by a professional body (including foreign professional bodies);

A finding that the individual has breached the rules of the Football Association against match fixing;

The long-existing provision that an individual who has been a director during two club insolvencies (whether the same or different clubs) was extended to include an anti-avoidance measure whereby if a director resigns from a club which enters into insolvency within 30 days after his resignation, this will count as a "strike" under the rule.


Date of implementationEffect of Rule PL Rule
June 2009The Premier League's detailed regime to disincentivise the insolvency of football clubs was extended so that a triggering insolvency event now includes where a club or its parent undertaking is placed in insolvency anywhere in the world (previously within the European Union).

If a club suffers an insolvency event, this triggers a 9 point deduction and the ability of the Premier League Board to suspend the club.


Date of implementationEffect of Rule PL Rule
June 2008The Premier League became the first football body in the world to outlaw the practice of third parties, ie individuals or entities who were not clubs, taking a financial interest in players whereby that individual/entity could be said to have the beneficial entitlement to any value realised from a future sale of the player. Such practices have been utilised in certain other football jurisdictions, but were seen by the Premier League as an adverse development. Third party ownership strips money out of the game, preventing a "trickle down" of transfer fees, and increases the risk of a lack of transparency and probity in the sources of funds and potential money flows.

The Premier League's prohibition on clubs allowing third parties to have a material influence over their playing matters was likewise revolutionary and has since been adopted, nearly word for word, by FIFA in its regulations of global application.

The Premier League also requires, in the furtherance of full transparency, all contracts concerning players' registrations and economic rights to be disclosed to it, in certain circumstances in draft.

L.7 & L.37-38

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Prepared 29 July 2011