The Member Clubs of the Premier League
The Premier League is a private company limited by shares. Its shareholders are the 20 Member Clubs at any given time, and The FA, which holds a special share.
Each individual club is independent, working within the rules of football, as defined by the Premier League, The FA, UEFA and FIFA, as well as being subject to English and European law.
Each Premier League club holds a single share, giving them an equal vote on all matters and a right to the distribution of broadcast and commercial revenues. The FA’s special share means that certain actions can only be taken with its approval, such as the appointment and re-appointment of and Board Directors.
Shareholder meetings are the ultimate decision-making forum for Premier League policy and are held at regular intervals during the course of the season. The Premier League AGM takes place after the close of each season, at which time the relegated clubs transfer their shares to the clubs promoted into the Premier League from the English Football League Championship.
Clubs have the opportunity to propose new rules or amendments at Shareholder meetings. Each Member Club is entitled to one vote and all rule changes and major broadcast and commercial proposals require the approval of at least two-thirds vote, or 14 clubs.
The Premier League Rule Book, contained within the Handbook (Download: Premier League Handbook; PDF 16MB), serves as a contract between the League, the Member Clubs and includes:
- Expected levels of conduct by clubs and their officials and processes by which any misconduct will be adjudicated and sanctioned.
- The terms on which the competition is organised.
- The formula under which central funds are distributed to clubs (and relegated clubs).
- Minimum standards of governance and operation in a wide range of areas, from safeguarding and supporter relations to broadcaster access, stadium infrastructure and club Academies.
Where a club or individual bound by the rules fails to comply with them, there are a range of disciplinary options available to the Board. These include the power to issue fines of up to £100,000, the power to agree sanctions and, where appropriate, to refer the breach to a commission. In 2019, the League moved to an entirely independent Judicial Panel, appointed by an independent Chair (Murray Rosen KC). It is from this Judicial Panel that the Chair selects individuals with relevant experience and expertise to sit on commissions. Where a commission is appointed, it has extremely wide sanctioning powers, including the power to impose significant fines and sporting sanctions.
At the Premier League's AGM in June 2022, an Owners' Charter was agreed by Clubs. The Owners and Directors of the Member Clubs are custodians of those organisations and will uphold the spirit of the Charter's commitments.
The Premier League Board (the Board)
The Board currently comprises a Chair, three Independent Non-Executive Directors, and the Chief Executive.
Under the terms of the Premier League’s Articles of Association, the Board is empowered to (among other things):
- Manage the affairs of the Premier League including its operation and administration and the implementation of the Premier League Rules.
- Take such steps as it considers necessary to give effect to any policy resolved upon by clubs at a Shareholders’ Meeting.
- Make recommendations and proposals to clubs on matters of importance to the Premier League (including changes to the Premier League Rules).
- The Board has a wide range of roles and responsibilities under the Premier League Rules. It is the entity responsible for resolving disputes in many cases, as well as the body responsible for prosecuting breaches of the Rules when they occur.
- Where appropriate, in accordance with the Articles, the Board delegates authority to other groups or committees (such as the Premier League Football Board) to take decisions on its behalf.
Alison Brittain CBE – Chair
Alison has been Chair of the Premier League since 3 January 2023. Alison is a highly versatile business leader and general manager, who brings considerable experience of operating in consumer-facing service environments. She has over 25 years’ senior management experience in major ﬁnancial institutions, most recently as Chief Executive and a Director of Whitbread PLC.
Alison was previously with Lloyds Banking Group (Group Director, Retail Division) and Santander UK PLC (Executive Director, Retail Distribution), where she was also a board director, and served as a Non-Executive Board Director for Marks & Spencer Group PLC. She previously held senior roles at Barclays Bank, has been a member of the UK Prime Minister's Advisory Council, was named 'Business Woman of the Year 2017' in the Veuve Clicquot awards and was awarded a CBE in the 2019 UK New Year Honours list.
Alongside her role as Chair of the Premier League, Alison holds Non-Executive Director positions at Dunelm and Experian
Mai Fyfield – Independent Non-Executive Director
Mai was previously the Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer at Sky, responsible for leading strategy and Sky’s commercial partnerships across the group.
During her almost 20 years at Sky, she was a key player in the growth and diversification of the business and also led the bidding process for three Premier League rights terms.
Since leaving Sky, Mai sits on the boards of ASOS, BBC Commercial, Nationwide Building Society and Roku. Mai also chairs the Premier League’s Remuneration Committee. Mai is a champion of diversity and is passionate about helping women succeed in senior management and board positions.
Dharmash Mistry – Independent Non-Executive Director
Dharmash is an experienced technology venture capitalist, entrepreneur and Non-Executive Director. He started his career at Proctor & Gamble before moving to The Boston Consulting Group.
Dharmash then spent eight years in media as Group Managing Director of EMAP Consumer Media and EMAP Performance, the consumer divisions of Emap PLC. He subsequently co-led the delisting and sale of Emap PLC from the FTSE 100 in 2008.
Since 2008, Dharmash has been a technology venture capitalist - as a Partner at Balderton Capital and subsequently setting up the London office of Lakestar. Leading investments such as Revolut, Glovo, Infarm, Blockchain.com and LoveFilm and co-founding Blow LTD, which was sold to Holland & Barret in 2021. He was previously a Non-Executive Director at the BBC, British Business Bank, Hargreaves Lansdown PLC and Dixons PLC. He currently sits on the Boards of Hamla plc and Rathbones plc. Dharmash also chairs the Premier League’s Audit & Finance Committee and Nominations Committee.
Matthew Ryder KC – Independent Non-Executive Director
Matthew is a highly regarded senior barrister and part-time judge who has led teams in the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. He has particular expertise in public law, criminal and regulatory law and data law.
In his three-decade career he has been involved in numerous well known cases, has overseen inquiries by sports bodies, and has provided advice both to tech companies and regulatory authorities such as the Information Commissioner.
He has been closely involved in a number of important reviews including the “Lammy Review” on racial bias in the criminal justice system and his own “Ryder Review” on the law and regulation of biometric data.
Between 2016 and 2018 he served as Deputy Mayor of London, leading on community engagement including overseeing sport in London and the Mayor’s use of data.
He is an experienced INED sitting on the Board of the Guardian’s Scott Trust, and has previously been a board member of the University of the Arts and chaired the board of the Black Cultural Archive in London.
Richard Masters – Chief Executive and Director
Richard was appointed Premier League Chief Executive in December 2019 having held the post on an interim basis for a year. He joined the Premier League as Director of Sales and Marketing in 2006 and was later appointed its Managing Director in 2015.
As Chief Executive, Richard oversees all elements of the Premier League’s operations and commercial enterprises and is responsible for the continuing success of the world’s most watched football league.
Richard chairs both the Premier League’s Broadcast and Strategic Advisory Groups, which enable the League, together with its clubs, to discuss strategic and growth opportunities, as well as media rights strategies and proposals. Richard is also a member of the Premier League Charitable Fund.
Prior to joining the Premier League, Richard was Commercial Director at the EFL and before that held roles at the World Sports Group and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Statement of Corporate Governance Arrangements
The Board is committed to excellent governance standards, which are central to the effective running of the Premier League and the following information outlines its governance principles.
Since the League undertook a full governance review (completed in 2021) it has adopted the Wates Corporate Governance Principles for Large Private Companies (the "Wates Principles"). The Wates Principles are voluntary and provide a framework for the Board to monitor corporate governance of the League and determine where governance standards can be raised to a higher level across the business.
The Wates Principles support better engagement with stakeholders and helps to build trust with clubs, colleagues, partners and supporters. This governance framework also provides the right environment for the Board to continue to make high quality and resilient decisions for the long-term success of the Premier League. Since their adoption, regular updates tracking the League’s progress against the Wates Principles have been provided to the Board.
The Premier League Executive
The Premier League head office is based in central London. The organisation has a staff of 250 people who deliver across a range of functions and departments including football, coach development, community, youth development, safeguarding, broadcast, commercial, communications, digital media, finance, legal, marketing and policy.
The Premier League Charitable Fund (PLCF)
PLCF is an independent charity established in 2010 to distribute funds on behalf the Premier League and its partners. It is one of the biggest sports charities in the world, with an annual budget in excess of £35million.
The PLCF enables impactful work via the charitable arms of professional football clubs in England and Wales. More than 100 Club Community Organisations (CCOs) are supported, including those in the Premier League and English Football League, to deliver high-quality national programmes, including Premier League Primary Stars, Premier League Kicks and Premier League Inspires.
The overarching goal of the PLCF is to help people achieve their potential and positively impact their communities through the power of football. The PLCF’s objectives include:
- Working in partnership with partners and funders, who support the work of PLCF; and with CCOs and clubs, who deliver PLCF-funded programmes for participants.
- Supporting CCOs through funding, training, guidance and networking opportunities and ensuring CCOs deliver effectively and efficiently, and sustainably respond to need within their communities.
- Delivering outcomes for participants which range from physical and mental wellbeing to success in education, training and employment.
The Premier League is the main donor to the PLCF, although the charity also works in partnership with other funders, including the Professional Footballers’ Association, BBC Children in Need, Sport Relief, Sport England, the London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime and the #iwill Fund.
The Football Association (The FA)
The FA is the national governing body for football in England and is responsible for sanctioning competition Rule Books, including the Premier League’s, and regulating on-field matters.
It also organises The FA Cup competition, in which the 20 Premier League Member Clubs compete.
The FA is also a special shareholder of the Premier League. Whilst it has no role in the day-to-day running of the Premier League, The FA’s special share means that certain actions can only be taken with its approval, such as the appointment and re-appointment of Premier League Board Directors.
Each year, the Premier League submits its rules to The FA for approval and sanction.
For the Premier League, The FA ensures that throughout the season the Laws of the Game are applied on the field and that the rules and regulations concerned with running football in England are observed by officials, club and players off the pitch as well as on it.
The FA also deals with all matters of on and off-field discipline.
Other areas of collaboration with The FA are refereeing (joint funding partners with the EFL of Professional Match Game Officials Limited (PGMOL), Youth Development, and the UK’s largest sports charity, the Football Foundation.
Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
UEFA is a competition organiser and is responsible for the organisation and regulation of cross-border football in Europe. It also organises the European Championships for national associations every four years.
UEFA is primarily known for its European club competitions, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, in which Premier League clubs play an active part in delivering broadcast audiences and attracting commercial revenue for UEFA.
The Premier League is one of the top-performing leagues in European football and has been in the top three of the UEFA Association Coefficient table for a number of years. This means that four Premier League teams are awarded places in the UEFA Champions League and another three in the UEFA Europa League.
The representative structures for UEFA are mainly association-based with The FA representing English football on numerous committees.
However, recent changes at UEFA have led to greater club involvement through the European Club Association, of which the Premier League has five Ordinary Members and five Associated Members.
The European Professional Football Leagues, which represents 30 leagues across Europe, has also gained representation at UEFA level.
Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA)
FIFA is football’s world governing body and is primarily known for organising the FIFA World Cup every four years. However, its biggest responsibility is for the regulation, promotion and development of football at international level.
All football played at any official level must abide by the Laws of the Game, as set by FIFA. So, everything from the Offside Law to International Call-ups is decided by the Zurich-based world governing body.
FIFA’s rules and regulations are decided by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and reviewed on an annual basis.
The IFAB consists of four representatives of FIFA and one each from the national associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
FIFA sets the international fixture calendar which, along with European and domestic cup dates, takes precedence over domestic league football.
This means FIFA and UEFA dates are the first in the fixture calendar, followed by The FA Cup and then the League Cup.
Only after those dates have been fixed can the Premier League fixture list be compiled.