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New rules imposed to avoid Portsmouth repeat

"We now believe we have the measures in place, the early warning system and the rules regarding change of ownership which will enable us to reduce the risk of having a repeat of the Portsmouth situation," Chief Executive Richard Scudamore told a news conference.

"We have reduced the risk to extremely unlikely proportions."

Portsmouth, who had a series of owners last season, were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the campaign after amassing debts of over 120 million sterling to tax authorities plus tens of millions more to other creditors.

They went into into administration in February, suffering a nine-point penalty deduction, but would have finished bottom of the table even without that.

The rules stipulate that both financial and personal credentials of prospective owners will be closely scrutinised.

Any such bidders for the Premier League's 20 clubs will have to prove they have the necessary funds to carry through a takeover and to sustain the team for a year.

The Premier League's Board has been empowered to request a direct meeting with any potential buyers and to obtain information from member clubs every quarter to ensure all tax and social security contributions are in order.

The Premier League will also have the power to go directly to tax authorities to ensure payments are up to date.

Individuals barred by other sporting organisations will not be allowed to become a Premier League club director.


"The object of the Premier League is to reduce risk to try and prevent the worst happening, but ultimately we cannot eliminate risk entirely because that would involve us interfering almost as shadow directors and running clubs and we are not going to do that," Scudamore said.

"We are not going to entirely eliminate the risk of a club putting itself in an over-extended position but by the measures we now have in place we can reduce that risk to a minimum."

He added that Portsmouth's mismanagement had damaged the League's reputation and the worst of its problems would have been avoided if the new rules had been in operation.

"There is reputational damage when you have a Portsmouth situation. Those sort of headlines are not good.

"It is reputationally difficult because everyone gets tarred with the same brush. The clubs that have run themselves extremely well, prudently and sensibly, get tarred with the same brush that football is a financial basket-case which it is not.

"Therefore you have to do things that protect you from that reputational risk and there was a mood to do that."

Scudamore said that the Premier League's turnover in the coming season would reach 1.2 billion pounds - an 18 percent increase over last season.

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