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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK

Thaksin Shinawatra
Thaksin completed his takeover of City early in July
The government will not intervene in the ownership of football clubs despite fresh concerns over Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra.

A leading human rights group claims Thaksin should not have passed the Premier League's 'fit and proper person' test.

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said the test could be improved.

But he told BBC Radio Five Live: "It has to be the football authorities that decide because they set the rules."

Sutcliffe recommended the introduction of a test which would span the entire game.

We have total confidence any investigation into him will flounder

Manchester City spokesman

"There are three tests: one for the Football Association, one for the Premier League and one for the Football League," he said.

"What they could do is bring them together, standardise it. The other thing is to look at what else can be done in terms of the transparency of ownership of clubs, looking at what the director's duties can be."

Leading human rights organisations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International expressed grave concerns about Thaksin in a Five Live investigation, aired on Tuesday.

The former Thai prime minister faces a string of corruption charges in his home country and was described by Human Rights Watch as "a human rights abuser of the worst kind".

However, the Premier League says its rules on ownership "go above and beyond any requirement by company law and are some of the sternest in any UK industry".


City have stood firmly by Thaksin, who completed a 81.6m takeover of the club in July.

"This is just another opportunistic move by a human rights group as there is no new evidence against Mr Shinawatra," said City spokesman Paul Tyrrell said.

"It seems to have been overlooked that Mr Shinawatra was ousted by a coup d'etat, having twice been elected prime minister of Thailand, one of the world's biggest democracies.

"These allegations have only begun to emerge since the military government took power.

"We have total confidence any investigation into him will flounder."

Thai court to hear Thaksin case
10 Jul 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Thailand considers early election
20 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Thailand freezes Thaksin's assets
11 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Thai ex-PM banned from politics
30 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Thaksin completes Man City buyout
06 Jul 07 |  Business


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