Changes to the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test labelled as ‘smoke and mirrors’

Changes to the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test have been labelled as ‘smoke and mirrors’ by former sports minister Tracey Crouch… who claims the amendments only reflect the ‘law of the land’

  • Tracey Crouch labelled the owners’ and directors’ test as ‘smoke and mirrors’
  • New changes saw the Premier League’s rules over club ownership tighten up 
  • Top-flight chiefs have ruled that human rights abuses are ‘Disqualifying Events’ 

Changes to the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test have been dismissed as ‘smoke and mirrors’ by leading politician Tracey Crouch.

The former sports minister says that the amendments, agreed yesterday and which prohibit those found guilty of human rights abuses from owning clubs or becoming a director, only reflect the ‘law of the land’.

Crouch has been instrumental in the arrival of an independent football regulator.

And she added that the changes, which come into force immediately, ‘don’t go as far as the White Paper’ on the regulator. ‘Smoke and mirrors,’ Crouch concluded.

The Premier League were lambasted by Amnesty International and others for giving the green light to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to lead a takeover of Newcastle United, given the country’s appalling human rights record.

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch said that changes made to the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test are ‘smoke and mirrors’ 

Premier League chiefs have agreed new rules for owners to be disqualified over human rights abuses

Premier League chiefs have agreed new rules for owners to be disqualified over human rights abuses

Concerns have also been flagged over the potential of a Qatar-based takeover of Manchester United among human rights and LGBTQ+ groups.

But it does not appear that the new rules would have stopped the Newcastle sale and it is unlikely that they would impact on Sheik Jassim’s bid for United should it prove to be successful. None of those involved are on the Government’s list of those currently sanctioned for human rights violations.

A more stringent owners’ and directors’ test will be among the powers held by the new independent regulator, a move confirmed by the Government White Paper last month.

Meanwhile, clubs agreed in principle to a voluntary ban on front-of-shirt gambling advertising, which would be introduced at the start of the 2026-27 season.

The matter is likely to be voted on at a virtual meeting next month.

They also agreed to a vote on introducing a system of semi-automated offside next season at their AGM in June, which is expected to pass.

And there is an expectation that referees will clamp down on time-wasting next season by showing more yellow cards and adding more injury time.

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