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Prime Minister Gordon Brown warns football over debts

Man Utd fans protest against the Glazer ownership on Saturday

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has issued a warning over football finances by saying some club debts are "too high".

Mr Brown, a shareholder in Scottish side Raith Rovers, urged owners and managers to consider the supporters.

Manchester United fans demonstrated against the Glazer family ownership recently and Liverpool and Portsmouth have also come under scrutiny.

"The management of clubs must look seriously at their responsibilities to their supporters," said Mr Brown.

Debts at Manchester United's parent firm Red Football Joint Venture rose to £716.5m ($1.17bn) in the year to June 2009 and fans protested at the club's training ground on Monday morning.


Liverpool, meanwhile, are thought to be £245m in debt after Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett took over in 2007, while Pompey face a winding-up petition from HM Revenue & Customs at the High Court.

At his monthly Downing Street news conference, Mr Brown added: "It is a matter that the clubs themselves have got to be concerned about.

"Of course, in many cases there are very simple ways that they can deal with these problems. In other cases, football clubs don't have the income that is necessary to deal with the leverage that they have.

"But this is an issue and it's an issue football clubs are facing and it's a worry to supporters. These clubs have high levels of income from the supporters but the debt levels have been too high."

In 2005, when he was Chancellor, Mr Brown participated in the buy-out of Raith Rovers' previous owners by a local consortium.

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see also
Man United raise 504m in bonds
22 Jan 10 |  Business
Hicks agrees Rangers sale to Ryan
24 Jan 10 |  Baseball
Portsmouth face Campbell lawsuit
20 Jan 10 |  Portsmouth
Storrie in court over tax charge
20 Jan 10 |  Hampshire
Portsmouth tax appeal dismissed
19 Jan 10 |  Business
Chancellor praises Raith takeover
30 Dec 05 |  Raith

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