Premier League owners test set to be reviewed – Amnesty International


Newcastle finished the season in 13th place

The Premier League has been urged to “revise” the test of its owners and directors by Amnesty International.

Amnesty called the current regulations “woefully inadequate” to scrutiny by potential club buyers.

The campaign group said it had sent a new “human rights-compliant” version to league general manager Richard Masters.

The move comes after the collapse of a Saudi-backed Newcastle United buyout plan that was first agreed to in April.

The Premier League declined to comment, but are expected to commit to regularly reviewing their takeover rules.

A consortium, backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), ended its interest in buying the club last week.

There had been a four-month wait as the bid was considered by the Premier League.

Officials would have liked more clarity on the club’s ultimate responsibility.

The bid was hampered by controversy over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and allegations of TV rights piracy.

He also highlighted the Owners and Directors Test, which measures whether investors in clubs meet certain standards in order to protect football’s reputation, and lists disqualifying factors.

A criminal conviction prohibits the property, but no morality clause is included, and the 2008 Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City takeover was approved despite similar human rights concerns in the UAE.

Describing the saga as “a major wake-up call” Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said the Premier League “urgently needs to get its house in order”.

“The current test is woefully inadequate for the task of controlling who owns and runs English football clubs – it needs a serious overhaul,” she said.

“Right now, anyone who wants to ‘erase the sport’ of their reputation by buying into English football can do so knowing that even their involvement in war crimes or torture would not stop them.

“The test just did not keep up with modern trends in international football ownership, especially with foreign powers buying their place in the game.

“Football can be a real force for good… but top-level football has to resolve this thorny issue of ownership. ”

In April, Masters assured Amnesty that the league would review the takeover “rigorously”.

In June, Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, wrote to the league to oppose the deal.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the country’s ruling leader and president of the PIF, has taken responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder, calling it “a mistake” but denies ordering his death.

Masters told Cengiz his objections were “fully taken into account.”

However, Amnesty claims that the league test has “many serious shortcomings”, with the phrase “human rights” not appearing, although English football adheres to Fifa statutes which “commit to respect all internationally recognized human rights ”.

Meanwhile, the league is also under pressure from supporters demanding answers on the collapse of the deal.

The Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust (NUST) said residents of north-east England “were ignored” by the Premier League after the region “potentially missed hundreds of millions of pounds in investment”.


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