Tuesday 10 July 2012
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has given evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Select Committee as part of the review of football governance in England.
Earlier this year the Premier League, together with The Football Association, the National Game and the Football League, produced a joint response to the Government's response to the CMS Select Committee report on governance.
The response from the football authorities covered areas such as a new licensing framework for clubs, the constitution of The FA Board and how clubs consult with fans. It was sent to the Government at the end of February.
"We spend considerable sums of money now investigating the bona fide nature of football club owners"
- Richard Scudamore
Scudamore's appearance before the Select Committee gave him the chance to explain how the regulations regarding who can take ownership of clubs had been enhanced over recent times.
"We spend considerable sums of money now investigating the bona fide nature of football club owners," he said. "We do exhaustive tests.
"We work closely with government; we ask the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. We are into all the government departments, who are very co-operative.
"There are stringent tests. We require absolute proof of funding, we engage directly with their banks and their banking organisations, we make sure that they can fund and sustain the club for the short to medium term.
"We recognise that they can make business decisions at any point down the track that can alter that situation, which is why we can require further financial information at any time.
"Also on change of ownership, we require a whole new set of those tests to be passed."
Scudamore also praised the way in which the authorities have come together to formulate rules that have helped protect the long-term future of clubs.
"I would commend what English football has done, collectively, in the last number of years to increase sustainability," he stated.
"When all of this discussion about finance and money goes on, the single most important thing in my view is sustainability of the club and making sure it is there for future generations.
"That is by far the most fundamental concern."
One part of the football authorities' response was the issue of how a club engages and consults with its fans.
And Scudamore confirmed that the Premier League would engage with any working group looking at making it easier for supporter organisations to become involved in a club's decision-making process.
"The whole supporter engagement subject, in our response is quite clear," he added. "We absolutely believe in proper consultation.
"We, in our rules this summer, have just approved that every club should have a Supporter Liaison Officer and that is the link between recognising and having that formal dialogue that must then get reported into senior level into clubs.
"We have to listen to all voices in the football world"
- Richard Scudamore
"There's lots more that we can do together. We have to listen to all voices in the football world.
"We have 45,000 people that we currently research and survey every year and we get feedback from them so we don't just take our sources of supporter and customer information from the representative bodies.
"We have to take it from a much wider constituency and still have to come up with decisions that you are prepared to stick by and work with."
Representatives from The Football Association will be giving evidence to the CMS Select Committee next week.
To read the full response from The FA, Premier League, Football League and National Game, click here.