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The Fit and Proper Person Test

There was much talk about bad owners on the Radio 5 phone in last night. Irritatingly, Charlton were not mentioned when a list of other clubs were mentioned (at least, not in the section of the programme that I heard). However, it did highlight for me that, despite all the general agreement that bad owners need to go, when it comes to it, it is tough luck if you get a bad owner. As has been posted before, from an enforceable standpoint, on what grounds is RD not 'fit and proper'? There's quite a lot of talk about the fact that FA should be able to take action, but what rules could you have that would save the likes of Charlton, Leyton Orient, Blackpool, Coventry et al? And, if there were some rules, could owners skirt round them easily?

It's a tough one. Do the fans have to like the owners? If they don't, do they have to sell? For how much? Ian Wright suggested that owners had to deposit money in a bond. But, how would that work? And what would happen to the money? Then what?

I can't see that there is much you can do. The current Fit and Proper rules (according to Wikipedia) are below. What could they do to improve these rules?

Disqualifying events

The Premier League has tighter restrictions than the rest of the Football League and Football Conference. In general, a businessman will fail the test if:

They have power or influence over another Football League club
They hold a significant interest in another Football League club
They become prohibited by law from being a director
They are filing for bankruptcy
They have been director of a club while it has suffered two or more unconnected events of insolvency
They have been a director of two or more clubs of which, while they have been director, has suffered an event of insolvency

Comments

  • I passed it so what does that tell you? ; - )
  • I passed it so what does that tell you? ; - )

    Fit?
  • I passed it so what does that tell you? ; - )

    Fit?
    Not in either sense of the word, I'm afraid.
  • I passed it so what does that tell you? ; - )

    Exactly. Unless you are already connected to another club or have had financial problems you'll pass.

    The test needs updating, but I'm not going to do their job for them.
  • EFL: Will you do anything that'll embarrass the Football League | Make us do any actual work | Or ruin the brand?
    New Owner: No
    EFL: Okay you've passed!!
  • The sooner the big wigs at the FA and the EFl realise that clubs which are heritages cannot be run by these mongols the better.
  • Mass murderers, paedophiles, rapists, they would all pass.
  • Mass murderers, paedophiles, rapists, they would all pass.

    But more generally, what can you do? If the World had a "fit and proper" test vast swathes of us would fail. What phraseology would anyone suggest that could have saved us from the odious Roland but would not have fallen foul of common law on restraint of trade? I can't think of any.
    At the end of the day, fans of one in six clubs in League One will say their owners were rubbish, citing relegation as the irrefutable evidence. But without relegation (and promotion) what's the point of it all?
  • cafcfan said:

    Mass murderers, paedophiles, rapists, they would all pass.

    But more generally, what can you do? If the World had a "fit and proper" test vast swathes of us would fail. What phraseology would anyone suggest that could have saved us from the odious Roland but would not have fallen foul of common law on restraint of trade? I can't think of any.
    At the end of the day, fans of one in six clubs in League One will say their owners were rubbish, citing relegation as the irrefutable evidence. But without relegation (and promotion) what's the point of it all?
    The wording is of course the problem, but I still think if we can put a man on the moon, the EFL through their lawyers, should come up with something better.

    I think most relegations are reasonable. Rotherham & Wigan fans have no extraordinary ground to complain, unlike Blackburn with The Venkys.
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  • It's not such a hard one. There's​ regulation of all the utilities, security, markets, banking and other sectors. Why not the football industry? Two obvious impediments are the status quo inertia of the incumbents but that's to be expected, and the other maybe less obvious is a free market mentality, which actually underpins the view that it's 'too difficult' or nothing can be done.

    We have regulation in the UK and are pretty good at it. It's a sign of a civilised society. The things of greatest value are cherished, protected and governed through scrutiny, and all these regulators strive to make sure all the parties operate effectively. That's broadly the aim and football need not be regarded any differently. Parliament could institute protections in law. And create an effective regulator at the same stroke of the legal pen.

    Methods are shared between regulators. We'd have licensing, inspections, assessments against set criteria on regular bases and ad hoc. There'd be a levy charged that would go into supporting grass roots initiatives, training and improvements. Fans representation at board level and other levels could be made compulsory.

    The existing bodies could be transitioned to become formal regulators, striving to better regulation with support from parliament and the National audit office. Not difficult really. There's money in the game, just not the will from inside or outside at present. We as fans shouldn't give up on the idea just because we can't see it happening from within the current conditions. That's just what Duchatelet, Ashley, Becchetti and all the others would hope. This is the direction that all the different protests funds should be helping to set. 'Let down by the football league' indeed.
  • cafcfan said:

    Mass murderers, paedophiles, rapists, they would all pass.

    But more generally, what can you do? If the World had a "fit and proper" test vast swathes of us would fail. What phraseology would anyone suggest that could have saved us from the odious Roland but would not have fallen foul of common law on restraint of trade? I can't think of any.
    At the end of the day, fans of one in six clubs in League One will say their owners were rubbish, citing relegation as the irrefutable evidence. But without relegation (and promotion) what's the point of it all?

    "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard"

    John F Kennedy, US President, on the Apollo Programme.


    "But it is very difficult"

    Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Exec, on changing the Fit and Proper persons test.

    Inspiring stuff, eh?
  • easy.

    If you don't attend at least 50% of the clubs home games in any 1 season then you have to sell up before the start of the next season.

  • easy.

    If you don't attend at least 50% of the clubs home games in any 1 season then you have to sell up before the start of the next season.

    It pisses me off that Roland doesn't bother coming to games, but that wouldn't make any difference. He'd turn up, go to Katrien's Hard House Party in Crossbars before the match, happily sit through a 3-0 thumping at home to Bury/Oxford/whoever and then go for a dance in the Millenium Lounge. He doesn't get it, Katrien doesn't get it.

    I don't think there is a test that you can set that would keep bad owners out. Or if it did, it would keep the good ones out too - Leicester's and Man City's for example.

    This is the only one rule that works:

    "The 50+1 rule (German: 50+1-Regel) is an informal term used to refer to a clause in the regulations of the Deutsche Fußball-Liga. The clause states that, in order to obtain a license to compete in the Bundesliga, a club must hold a majority of its own voting rights. The rule is designed to ensure that the club's members retain overall control, protecting clubs from the influence of external investors."

    Basically, you're more than welcome to put your money in, but if you try and turn the club into a total shambles then we, the supporters, have got the power to stop you.
  • easy.

    If you don't attend at least 50% of the clubs home games in any 1 season then you have to sell up before the start of the next season.

    Do you know what. Although it's a bit bonkers, it might not be quite as daft as it sounds.

    In fact I'd make it 80%.

    Ok, RD not attending is a minor issue, in the scheme of things, but it would definitely prevent owners, that had little interest in their team.
  • Him attending would at least give the protests a bit more of a focal point. A few individuals who slate CARD for not doing enough might actually get off their arse and show a bit of bite.
  • I don't think there's a way to filter out people like Roly at the purchase - unless you expand the multiple ownership across all leagues.

    More important are the regulations they operate under. For example, given our recent discussions, separating team and ground ownership should be prohibited. I'm sure a sensible list could be drawn up to at least limit the damage than can be done.

    Maybe it's something the Trusts can push through their contacts in Parliament.
  • It's not such a hard one. There's​ regulation of all the utilities, security, markets, banking and other sectors. Why not the football industry? Two obvious impediments are the status quo inertia of the incumbents but that's to be expected, and the other maybe less obvious is a free market mentality, which actually underpins the view that it's 'too difficult' or nothing can be done.

    We have regulation in the UK and are pretty good at it. It's a sign of a civilised society. The things of greatest value are cherished, protected and governed through scrutiny, and all these regulators strive to make sure all the parties operate effectively. That's broadly the aim and football need not be regarded any differently. Parliament could institute protections in law. And create an effective regulator at the same stroke of the legal pen.

    Methods are shared between regulators. We'd have licensing, inspections, assessments against set criteria on regular bases and ad hoc. There'd be a levy charged that would go into supporting grass roots initiatives, training and improvements. Fans representation at board level and other levels could be made compulsory.

    The existing bodies could be transitioned to become formal regulators, striving to better regulation with support from parliament and the National audit office. Not difficult really. There's money in the game, just not the will from inside or outside at present. We as fans shouldn't give up on the idea just because we can't see it happening from within the current conditions. That's just what Duchatelet, Ashley, Becchetti and all the others would hope. This is the direction that all the different protests funds should be helping to set. 'Let down by the football league' indeed.

    But, for example, there is nothing in the guidelines in FIT 2.1.3 of the FCA's Handbook that would preclude Roland Duchatelet from undertaking a controlled function in the financial services industry! The full fat regulatory handbook (you need to see the size of the original printed version of this fecker!) didn't save RBS from the ego of Fred The Shred did it? Nor did Fred's qualification as a Chartered Accountant stop him from making utterly dumb decisions.

    HOWEVER, if you go on to the FCA's FIT 2.2 which deals with Competence and Capability, there is some hope. But mostly it would rely upon whether the experience and training was up to speed. In the specific case of Roland, there could be a glimmer of light as the FCA look at "whether the person has adequate time to perform the function in question and meet the responsibilities associated with that function". And as Roland has admitted, he spends (what was it?) only 1.5% of his time on us. But is that okay for a non-executive chairman? Maybe, maybe not, I don't know. Our beloved CEO works full time (allegedly) and is also a qualified lawyer. (I have a recollection that Peter Varney was an accountant, is that right?)

    What "training and experience" qualifies someone to be a CEO of what is, after all, only a SME? The football authorities would have to devise and develop some form of Football Governance qualification presumably to degree level and then you'd be disbarring any entirely competent individuals that take on a football club having no relevant experience. Would Daniel Levy's first class honours degree from Cambridge in Economics be adequate training? Would it prepare him at all for having the ability to rely on football professionals for transfer decisions? Would an established, successful business person have the time and inclination to do some form of extra football-centric education in their middle age? I've no doubt Roman Abramovich has an interesting past, but no one can suggest that he's been anything but good for Chelsea.

    So, back to the ego. People who have been a success in business always think they are right. Experience tells them this will be the case. They forget entirely (don't they Lord Sugar?) that much of their success was merely down to luck, coming up with an idea - often a simple one - at the right time and in the right place. But the world of business is littered with people who made equally bold decisions but find out that the time and place is not quite right and they fail spectacularly. We can all do our own list of these. Who can forget Clive Sinclair's C5? What happened to C1 to C4 I wonder?
  • There were some interesting comments by Martin Samuel on the Sunday Supplement on Sky Sports last weekend (available on podcast).

    In short he rightly points out that almost all owners (including the bad ones) would breeze through a fit and proper test, and that until the FA comes up with a reasonable test for stupidity and/or incompetence then it will remain an ongoing problem.
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  • The sooner the big wigs at the FA and the EFl realise that clubs which are heritages cannot be run by these mongols the better.

    @AddickFC81 - pretty sure you meant 'mongrel' here - otherwise that's a pretty offensive site term to use?
  • The sooner the big wigs at the FA and the EFl realise that clubs which are heritages cannot be run by these mongols the better.

    @AddickFC81 - pretty sure you meant 'mongrel' here - otherwise that's a pretty offensive site term to use?
    ?
  • The sooner the big wigs at the FA and the EFl realise that clubs which are heritages cannot be run by these mongols the better.

    @AddickFC81 - pretty sure you meant 'mongrel' here - otherwise that's a pretty offensive site term to use?
    ?
    You can't actually have meant 'Mongol'? Unless you genuinely don't know what it or 'mong' mean?
  • The sooner the big wigs at the FA and the EFl realise that clubs which are heritages cannot be run by these mongols the better.

    @AddickFC81 - pretty sure you meant 'mongrel' here - otherwise that's a pretty offensive site term to use?
    ?
    You can't actually have meant 'Mongol'? Unless you genuinely don't know what it or 'mong' mean?
    Mong just means idiot
  • AddickFC81, dear chap, I have sent you an inbox/personal message, as I know you mean no offence.
  • The sooner the big wigs at the FA and the EFl realise that clubs which are heritages cannot be run by these mongols the better.

    @AddickFC81 - pretty sure you meant 'mongrel' here - otherwise that's a pretty offensive site term to use?
    ?
    You can't actually have meant 'Mongol'? Unless you genuinely don't know what it or 'mong' mean?
    Mong just means idiot
    Oh my goodness I did look it up and didn't know just how serious it was. I certainly wouldn't have said it if I had genuinely know. Sorry for any offence I have caused anyone.
  • And now what about this new guy at Forest?

    Facing match fixing charges back in his native Greece. As yet he is still to be proven guilty but with such a serious charge hanging over him can this be a risk the EFL take take?

    If iti is proven then how do we know he won't try and fix matches over here?

    Worrying, turbulent times indeed.
  • They've made over 14% of their all time prize money in just the last season? Surely that's wrong?

    If it's true, surely this bubble is going to burst soon.
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