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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Premier League Aims To Remove ‘Bad’ Owners With Divestment Protocol

  • English top-flight league looks to create formal protocol for removing owners
  • Potential move would create more structure, transparency in difficult situations
Chelsea FC players attempt to block a free kick from James Ward-Prowse during a Premier League match.
Premier League

The Premier League is reportedly creating a formal process to force out “bad” club owners, a situation that has frustrated pro leagues on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean for years.

The Financial Times said the top-tier English league is in talks with member clubs regarding the creation of a divestment protocol — an established standard to hold owners accountable. 

Violators would be barred from serving as directors. The list of disqualifying events would include a wide range of significant criminal offenses such as violence, fraud, corruption, and tax evasion, as well as various human rights abuses. 

The proposed protocol is slated to be discussed further at a league meeting next month, and if put for a vote would require approval from 14 of 20 clubs for ratification.

The rising issue follows a messy standoff between the U.K. government and former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Last year, the Premier League placed sanctions on Abramovich for his connections to Vladimir Putin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Premier League followed suit by removing him as a director. 

Abramovich got out in front of that by placing the club up for sale. Had he not done that, Chelsea faced a potential collapse. Ultimately, U.S. investors Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital purchased the club in a then-record deal with an accelerated sales process.

Major U.S. leagues have rules allowing owners to call for a forced sale of a team, but such moves are rarely enforced. Most recently, former Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder sold the team amid fast-rising pressure both inside and outside NFL ownership circles, though there was never a formal vote to oust him.

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