Championship - Football League admits ownership worry

Mon, 18 Jul 07:07:00 2011

Football League chairman Greg Clarke has admitted his organisation finds it "difficult" to have certainty over who ultimately owns their member clubs.

Championship - League's ownership worry

Clarke's admission is contained as part of a Dispatches programme which airs at 8pm on Channel 4 on Monday night. An undercover team working for the programme posed as a consortium of Indian businessmen interested in buying an English club.

Clarke was interviewed as part of the programme and 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."

Dispatches say they were offered the chance to invest in one Football League club by a group of intermediaries, and the programme makers claim that when their consortium expressed an interest in buying a second club - in breach of Football Association regulations - the intermediaries offered to set up a front organisation to circumvent those rules.

Asked if he is confident that he knows who the true owners are of every club in the Football League, Clarke 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".

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