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Premier League rule out Rovers investigation

Thu 10th May 2012 | Clubs Ownership

The Premier League have dismissed an MP's calls for an investigation into Venky's takeover of relegated Blackburn Rovers.

And the Premier League say they are confident the club will remain financially sustainable despite relegation.

Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, has accused the Premier League of "a wilful neglect of its responsibilities" and called for an investigation into how the Indian poultry giants were persuaded to buy the club.

The Premier League say their 'owners' and directors' test' and financial rules work to ensure that clubs remain sustainable but cannot ensure "competency".

Blackburn on Thursday confirmed that deputy chief executive Paul Hunt has left the club following the furore over a leaked letter.

The letter from Hunt to Venky's was written in December and stated he wanted them to sack manager Steve Kean.

The owners have stood by Kean however, despite Rovers being relegated on Monday.

Straw wrote in the Lancashire Telegraph: "At the heart of the Premier League's wilful neglect of its responsibilities is its so-called 'fit and proper person' test [forerunner of the owners' and directors' test].

"The test is laughable and almost everyone in the business knows this. It allows no period of probation for new owners, no assessment of their managerial competence, no disclosure of the insidious role of agents.

"The Premier League must now mount a full investigation into what business model Venky's thought they were buying and how much money has been made by those who sold them this model.

"I cannot believe that this Indian family poultry business had any idea of the financial and reputational risks they were taking on. Why were they not warned?"

The Premier League have seen Venky's financial plans - including one based on the club being relegated - and are confident Rovers will remain financially sustainable especially as the owners are trying to run it on a break-even basis.

They also insist it is not up to them to decide whether an owner is competent to run a club, or for any responsibility of success on the pitch.

Premier League communications director Dan Johnson said: "The owners' and directors' test is an objective and legally sustainable mechanism, which goes above and beyond UK Company Law, to ascertain if any prospective owner or director of a Premier League club has been convicted of offences that should preclude them from that level of involvement.

"It is not, and cannot be, a test of competency in respect of decision making at a club.

"What we do have in place is a set of rules - future financial information, directors' reports, HMRC quarterly reporting etc - that ensure the sustainability of clubs financially.

"Whether or not a club is successful in a sporting sense has to be the responsibility of the owners and directors of that club, not the competition they play in."


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