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Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 13:18 UK

Ownership rules concern FA chief

Man City's Pairoj Piempongsant and Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim of ADUG
Manchester City is the latest club to be taken over by foreign investors

The rules governing the financing and ownership of football clubs are "inadequate", according to Football Association chairman Lord Triesman.

Culture secretary Andy Burnham has already warned the FA that tighter rules on foreign ownership are needed.

"We all want clubs in the best hands," Triesman told the Daily Telegraph.

"Football has a tier of regulation beyond company law or stock market regulation but I'm not sure that existing framework is adequate."

The debate has been stimulated by a host of foreign buy-outs in British football over recent years, with Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Portsmouth all now in the hands of overseas owners.

In the latest high-profile takeover, Arab company Abu Dhabi United Group bought a majority stake in Manchester City at the start of September.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose

Burnham outlined his views in a speech in Westminster on Thursday and expressed concerns that a club's place in the community must be preserved.

"The game needs to reassess its relationship with money," Burnham told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"If the game continues along the same path for the next 10 years it risks losing touch with traditional support.

"This is not an attack on foreign ownership.

"It doesn't matter what nationality they are, what matters is their intentions for the club they seek to take over and whether or not they have the game's wider interest at heart.

"It's not wrong that people should make money out of football, but it should be done in such a way that promotes the interests of the game."

He added: "Does there need to be a single fit and and proper persons test applied before someone takes over, rather then retrospectively as it is now?

The best club owners do not want a game simply played by foreigners that just happens to be played in England

Football Association chairman Lord Triesman

"Does there need to be a greater level of scrutiny about how the takeover is going to happen? We need to ask 'is this takeover in the best interests of the club and of football in general?'.

"It is right for me to say 'come on FA, step up to the plate'. My worry is if we don't ask these awkward questions it will be too late and something very precious will have been lost."

Triesman echoed Burnham's concerns about the need to protect the integrity and domestic grassroots development of the game.

He added: "We want those who run our clubs to do so in the long-term interests of their financial health and sporting success rather than immediate return on investment.

"The FA must make good our responsibility for coaching to improve the quality of home-grown youngsters. Clubs share this responsibility.

"The best club owners get it. They have bought into something special and don't want to destroy it."

But the Premier League claim they have unsuccessfully sought discussions with Burnham about the issues he has raised.

A Premier League statement read: "It is the government that sets the laws as to who can and can't buy UK companies, whether utilities, airports, banks or football clubs.

"So far they have presided over an extremely liberal economy that encourages the free flow of foreign capital into this country.

"We have endeavoured to discuss with Mr Burnham the issues he raises and the concerns he has...but as yet have not been afforded the opportunity.

"Instead, as politicians tend to do, he has sought publicity rather than meaningful policy discussion."

see also
Arab group agrees Man City deal
01 Sep 08 |  Man City
Arabian might at Eastlands
02 Sep 08 |  Man City
Usmanov 'no plans on Arsenal bid'
28 Feb 08 |  Business
Caborn seeks ongoing rules review
27 Jun 07 |  Football
US duo complete Anfield takeover
09 Mar 07 |  Liverpool
Lerner agrees takeover of Villa
14 Aug 06 |  Aston Villa
Magnusson switches West Ham role
18 Sep 07 |  West Ham
Magnusson steps down at West Ham
13 Dec 07 |  West Ham
FA neutral on foreign ownership
27 Nov 06 |  Football
Uefa voices club takeover fears
04 Sep 06 |  Football
Gaydamak buys out Pompey chairman
19 Jul 06 |  Portsmouth
Mandaric seals Leicester takeover
13 Feb 07 |  Leicester
Glazer gets 98% of Man Utd shares
28 Jun 05 |  Business
Russian businessman buys Chelsea
02 Jul 03 |  Business

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