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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK

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Premier League rules are "among the sternest in industry", it says
The Premier League has defended its fit and proper person test after criticism from a leading human rights group.

Human Rights Watch has written to the League questioning why Thaksin Shinawatra was deemed to meet the criteria before buying Manchester City.

"We have very clear rules on the ownership of our clubs," a Premier League statement read.

"These rules go above and beyond any requirement by company law and are some of the sternest in any UK industry."

We have responded to Human Rights Watch to... underline that we will always operate within the law

Premier League

Thaksin has been described by Human Rights Watch as "a human rights abuser of the worst kind".

The Premier League statement added: "It is important to realise that the Premier League takes its responsibilities surrounding the governance of its clubs very seriously.

"The fit and proper person test means anyone convicted of a range of offences would not be permitted to become a director, or a shadow director, at a club.

"But what needs to be made clear is that in the first place we accept the primacy of UK and European law.

"This determines who may, and who may not, legally reside in the UK, own and acquire assets and engage in commercial and other activities.

"We have responded to Human Rights Watch to assure them of the above facts and to underline that we will always operate within the law and will take into account any evidence as verified by the appropriate legal process."


Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, told BBC Sport he did not think Thaksin should have passed the test.

"Under any definition, I don't see how Thaksin can be fit and proper," he said.

Amnesty International also said Thaksin presided over "very serious human rights violations" during his time as Thai prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

Thaksin, who completed his buy-out of City earlier this month, vehemently denies the allegations.

His lawyer, Noppadol Pattama, told BBC Sport: "My client deserves to be treated as an innocent man, until proven guilty. So far there hasn't been any solid evidence against him."


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