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New Premier League ownership rules: how could they affect Manchester United and Newcastle?

A number of ‘disqualifying events’ have been introduced to stop anyone who has committed certain crimes from running Premier League clubs.

A number of ‘disqualifying events’ have been introduced to stop anyone who has committed certain crimes from running Premier League clubs.

The Premier League has implemented a series of measures aimed at protecting clubs in the competition and preventing owners who have committed certain crimes (also called ‘disqualifying events’) from taking charge of any of its members. At a meeting held by Premier League clubs on Thursday, it was agreed that ownership rules would tightened to ensure that anyone who has committed human rights violations would not be permitted to own any of its clubs.

What are the Premier League’s ‘disqualifying events’?

On top of human rights crimes, individuals who have been found guilty of corruption, fraud, tax evasion and hate crimes will also be banned from becoming owners, while there will be stricter financial controls designed to avoid clubs from entering into bankruptcy and other related problems; more than 90 clubs in England have had some form of money troubles since the Premier League was founded in 1992.

The new measures come on the back of the proposal for a European Super League, put forward in April 2021, and the acquisition a few months later of Newcastle United by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which was widely criticised in the United Kingdom and indeed worldwide because of allegations of human rights abuses against the Saudi government.

How could Manchester United and Newcastle be affected?

English soccer’s new independent regulator, confirmed by the UK government a few weeks ago, will be in charge of enforcing the new rules made by the Premier League. Current club owners will be subject to checks based on the criteria on a yearly basis, which, if allegations made against them are proved, could be problematic for Newcastle’s owners.

As for the potential takeover of Manchester United, Qatari bidder Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Khalife Al-Thani could be blocked from running the club if the independent regulator decides that he is buying the Red Devils on behalf of the Qatari government, who are also suspected to have committed human rights violations. Sheikh Jassim, however, has insisted that the state is not involved in his bid, which he says will be funded by his own Nine Two Foundation.


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