Sunday 11 December 2016

English FA wants to see footage of probing Dispatches programme

Published 19/07/2011 | 16:22

The English Football Association are likely to request footage from Channel 4's Dispatches programme 'How To Buy A Football Club' for further analysis of its contents

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In last night's show, Dispatches said their undercover team posing as a consortium of Indian businessmen was offered the chance to invest in one Football League club by a group of intermediaries.



And the programme makers claimed that when their undercover team expressed an interest in buying a second club - in breach of FA regulations - the intermediaries offered to set up a front organisation to circumvent those rules.



Football League chairman Greg Clarke was interviewed as part of the programme and admitted his organisation finds it "difficult" to have certainty over who ultimately owns their member clubs.



Any prospective owners would, however, face due diligence from their prospective clubs before any deal was complete.



Speaking in the Dispatches programme, Clarke said: "We are a simple alliance of 72 football clubs who largely lose money. We don't have hundreds of thousands, let alone millions, to get to the bottom of these complicated organisation structures."



Asked if he is confident that he knows who the true owners are of every club in the Football League, he added: "No I'm not.



"There's a process of validation that lets the Football League know who the owners are. Who the owners of the owners are gets more difficult. And who the owners of the owners of the owners are gets even more difficult."



League rules state that "except with the written consent of the Board a person, or any associate of that person, who is interested in a club cannot at the same time be interested in another club".



A person is deemed to be "interested" in a club if they hold or deal in shares of a club; is a member of a club; is involved in the management or administration of a club; has any power to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of a club or has lent or gifted money to or guaranteed the debts or obligations of a club.



There was no further comment from the Football League today.

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