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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 01:24 GMT 02:24 UK
'Player funding must be transparent'
By Neil Doncaster
Chief executive, Norwich City Football Club

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster
Neil Doncaster: "The stakes are now so high in football"

"The reality is that there are already 'third parties' who have interests in players in this country, in my view.

"For example, investors may put up the money to bring players to a particular club, on the basis that they take the revenue when the player is sold on at a profit.

"This is not against the rules and I am aware of situations where this sort of thing has gone on.

"The real issue for football is where such investors have a say in what happens to that player - and that infringes the football rule that prohibits clubs from entering into deals enabling a third party "to acquire the ability to materially influence its policies".

"This was the key issue in the Tevez case.

'High stakes'

"It may be that there are other such third party arrangements in place, which the authorities do not know about.

"After all, it was only after media speculation about Tevez that the truth started to come out, long after he joined West Ham.

The whole issue comes down to transparency and openness - the fact that offshore arrangements, trusts and the like are increasingly a part of life diminishes that transparency

"If the Tevez arrangements are not a one-off, would the case encourage clubs to bring them out into the open?

"Or is it more likely that the Tevez case will drive any existing third party deals more into the shadows?

"The stakes are now so high in football that the temptation to get the best players in, almost regardless of risk, must be very great.

'Tighter rules'

"The other issue about these sorts of loans-for-players arrangements is that the investors behind them are not subject to the 'fit and proper persons' test.

"The whole issue comes down to transparency and openness - the fact that offshore arrangements, trusts and the like are increasingly a part of life diminishes that transparency.

"In my view, supporters' interests are best served by far better transparency as to who is really financing clubs than is often the case at the moment.

"And that is something that needs to be addressed, as well as tighter rules across the whole of football to prevent third-party ownership of players."

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