Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Section 10 & 11 - Association & Dual Interests & Additional Provisions

Introduction

The following Regulations prohibit one Club controlling another and individuals, either alone or with others, having interests in or influence over more than one Club. Associations and dual interests or influence giving rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest which undermine the integrity of League competitions and the reputation, credibility and image of professional football Clubs and all those who support or have a financial or commercial interest in League football are entitled to the assurance that no such Club or individual(s) can or will influence the outcome of any match or enter into any arrangements which prejudice the interests of other Clubs. In exceptional circumstances the Board may allow an individual to have a dual interest but this will be subject to conditions to safeguard the interests of The League and its Clubs.

SECTION 10 - DUAL INTERESTS

100 Associations Between Clubs

100.1 Except with the prior written consent of the Board no Club may, either directly or indirectly:

100.1.1 hold or deal in (or make any application to hold or deal in or underwrite any issue of) the securities or shares of another football club; or

100.1.2 be a member of another football club; or

100.1.3 be involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management or administration of another football club; or

100.1.4 have any power whatsoever to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of another football club; or

100.1.5 lend to, gift money to, purchase future receivables from or guarantee the debts or obligations of that football club (or any other arrangement of substantially similar effect).

100.2 Except with the prior written consent of the Board no Club shall allow or permit any football club, either directly or indirectly:

100.2.1 to hold or deal in (or make any applications to hold or deal in or underwrite any issue of) the securities or shares of that Club: or

100.2.2 to be a member of that Club; or

100.2.3 to be involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management or administration of that Club; or

100.2.4 to have any power whatsoever to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of that Club; or

100.2.5 lend to, gift money to, purchase future receivables from or guarantee the debts or obligations of that Club (or any other arrangement of substantially similar effect).

100.3 In these Regulations 100 to 103.3 inclusive:

100.3.1 ‘football club’ means any football club which is in membership of any of the following:

(a) The League;

(b) The Premier League;

(c) The National League;

(d) The Southern League;

(e) The Isthmian League;

(f) The Northern Premier League; or

(g) any League from time to time operated under the auspices of the Scottish Professional Football League, or Irish Football League;

and any league which may from time to time replace any of the above mentioned leagues or conferences, or be formed in relation to the playing of Association Football at a level equivalent to that played in any of the aforementioned leagues.

100.3.2 ‘close relative’ means a person who is related to that person whether by family ties or in law and the final determination shall be made by The League.

101 Interests in More Than One Football Club

101.1 Except with the prior 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 any other football club.

101.2 A person shall be deemed to be interested in a football club if he, whether directly or indirectly:

101.2.1 holds or deals in (or has made any application to hold or deal in or underwrite any issue of) the securities or shares of that football club: or

101.2.2 is a member of that football club; or

101.2.3 is involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management or administration of that football club; or

101.2.4 has any power whatsoever to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of that football club; or

101.2.5 has lent to, gifted money to, or purchased future receivables from or guaranteed the debts or obligations of that football club (or any other arrangement of substantially similar effect) otherwise than in the ordinary course of banking.

101.3 In any case where the person interested in a football club is an individual any of the following shall for the purposes of this Regulation 101 be deemed to be an ‘associate’ of that person:

101.3.1 a close relative of that person; or

101.3.2 anyone else of a close relationship with that person who, in the opinion of The League is or is likely to be acting with or who is financially dependent upon, that person; or

101.3.3 any company:

(a) of which that person (or any individual who is an associate of that person) is a director; or

(b) in which that person (or any individual who is an associate of that person) either directly or indirectly holds shares; or

(c) over which that person (or any individual who is an associate of that person) is able to exercise any influence or control; or

101.3.4 any person who is a shareholder, director or employee of any company referred to in Regulation 101.3.3 or any close relative of any such person; or

101.3.5 any company which is a Group Undertaking, Parent Undertaking or Subsidiary Undertaking of any company referred to in Regulation 101.3.3; or

101.3.6 any person who is a shareholder, director or employee of any company referred to in Regulation 101.3.3 or any close relative of any such shareholder, director or employee; or

101.3.7 any person who is an employee or partner of that person or any close relative of any such employee or partner; or

101.3.8 where any person who is interested in a football club has an agreement or arrangement (whether legally binding or not) with any other person in relation to the exercise of their voting power in a football club or the holding or disposal of their interests in a football club, that other person.

101.4 In any case where the person interested in a football club is a company any of the following shall for the purposes of this Regulation 101 be deemed to be an 'associate' of that person:

101.4.1 any person who is a director, shareholder or employee of that person or any close relative of any such director, shareholder or employee; or

101.4.2 any person who is able to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of that person or any close relative of any such person; or

101.4.3 any company which is a Group Undertaking, Parent Undertaking or Subsidiary Undertaking of that person; or

101.4.4 any shareholder, director or employee of any company referred to in Regulation 101.4.3 or any close relative of any such director, shareholder or employee; or

101.4.5 any person who is able to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of any company referred to in Regulation 101.4.3 or any close relative of any such person; or

101.4.6 where any person who is interested in a football club has an agreement or arrangement (whether legally binding or not) with any other person in relation to the exercise of their voting power in a football club or the holding or disposal of their interest in a football club, that other person.

101.5 The holding of not more than 10 per cent of the share capital of any football club shall be disregarded for the purposes of this Regulation 101 provided that those shares are, in the opinion of the Board, held purely for investment purposes only.

101.6 It shall be the responsibility of each Club, when allowing any person to:

101.6.1 hold or deal in (or make any application to hold or deal in or underwrite any issue of) the securities or shares of that Club; or

101.6.2 become a member of that Club; or

101.6.3 become involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management or administration of that Club; or

101.6.4 have any power whatsoever to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of that Club; or

101.6.5 lend to, gift money to, purchase future receivables from or guarantee the debts or obligations of that Club (or any other arrangement of substantially similar effect) otherwise than in the ordinary course of banking,

to ensure that in doing so that person shall not be acting in such a manner as to cause a breach of any Regulation and in particular Regulations 100 to 104, and failure to do so shall constitute misconduct.

101.7 Without prejudice to the generality of Regulation 101.6, each Club shall, when considering any application by any person to undertake any of the acts specified in Regulation 101.6.1 to 101.6.5, make all such reasonable enquiries of that person, in respect of both that person and also their associates and close relatives (as defined above), regarding any possible dual interests which may arise. Where such enquiries reveal the existence of a possible breach, the Club shall forthwith apply for the prior written consent of the Board before proceeding.

101.8 Any Club shall, upon receipt of a written request by The League, provide to The League evidence that such enquiries have been conducted. Failure to comply with this Regulation 101.8 shall constitute misconduct.

102 Interests in Clubs - Trusts and Nominees

102.1 Any act or thing prohibited in Regulations 100 and/or 101 in relation to a Club or a person, firm or company if done by such Club, person, firm or company in person is likewise prohibited through agents, trusts, trustees, nominees or other third parties.

103 Register of Interests

103.1 In addition and without prejudice to the provisions of Regulation 105, The League shall maintain a register of such interests as the Board may from time to time determine, including interests held:

103.1.1 by Clubs;

103.1.2 in Clubs;

103.1.3 by persons interested in a Club within the meaning of Regulation 101;

103.1.4 by associates of any such person, within the meaning of Regulation 101; and

103.1.5 by any person specified in Regulation 102.

103.2 In addition and without prejudice to the provisions of Regulation 107, if the Board determine that The League shall keep a register of interests pursuant to Regulation 103.1, the Board shall be entitled, by notice in writing, to require every Club to give written notice to The League of all:

103.2.1 interests held by it in any football club within the meaning of Regulation 100;

103.2.2 interests held by any football club in that Club within the meaning of Regulation 100;

103.2.3 persons interested in the Club and any associates of such persons, each within the meaning aforesaid; and/or

103.2.4 interests held by any person within the meaning of Regulation 102. 103.3 Full details as required pursuant to Regulation 103.2 shall be notified to The League within three months of the date of his service of notice requiring such information.

Thereafter, each Club shall give written notice of any change in the notifiable particulars pursuant to this paragraph within 7 days of such change. In all such cases the Club shall only be required to disclose notifiable particulars of which the Club is aware but the Club shall use its best endeavours to investigate any relevant circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to believe that notifiable particulars exist. No Club shall be excused from its obligations under this Regulation 103.2 because of any undertaking of confidentiality to any third party and each Club shall ensure that any undertaking of confidentiality is so qualified.

104 Prohibition of Nursery Clubs

104.1 No Club may be a ‘nursery’ club of another football club and no Club may have another football club as its ‘nursery’ club. A football club shall be deemed to be a ‘nursery’ club if it is under obligation, written or otherwise, to another football club by reason of which it has not the sole and entire control of its own management, finances and Players.

105 Board’s Power to Require Information

105.1 The League may by notice in writing require any Club, Official or Player whom it knows or has reasonable cause to believe is or has at any time in the period of three years immediately preceding the date on which the notice was issued been in breach of the foregoing Regulations 100 to 103 inclusive:

105.1.1 to confirm that fact or (as the case may be) to indicate whether or not it is the case; and

105.1.2 where such person is or has been in breach as aforesaid, to give such further information to The League as The League may require.

105.2 Without prejudice to the provisions of Regulation 105.1 The League may at any time by notice in writing require any Club to supply to The League, within such period as The League shall reasonably specify, but in any event within 28 days of the date on which the notice was issued, a written list of all members, shareholders, debenture holders and directors of the Club at the date the notice was issued and in the period of the three years immediately preceding the date on which the notice was issued. Such list shall specify such beneficial interests in any such interests as aforesaid of which it is aware.

106 Consent of The Board

106.1 In considering whether or not to give its consent to any matter referred to in Regulations 100, 101 or 102 the Board shall have regard to the need to promote and safeguard the interests and public profile of Association Football, its Players, spectators and others concerned with the game, and shall have regard also to the objects of The League as set out in its Memorandum of Association.

107 Powers of The Board in Event of Default

107.1 The Board shall be empowered, upon learning, whether pursuant to Regulations 103, 105 or 109 or otherwise, of any breach of Regulations 76 and 100 to 103 inclusive to require the Club and/or person in question to take such action as is necessary to rectify the breach forthwith or within such period as the Board shall determine.

107.2 Any breach of any of the foregoing Regulations 100 to 103 inclusive, including without limitation knowingly rendering incorrect or incomplete information pursuant to Regulations 103 and 105, shall constitute misconduct. Without prejudice to the range of other sanctions that may be imposed in respect of such breach, any Club in breach of any of the aforesaid Regulations may with the sanction of a special resolution passed at an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting of The League, be expelled from The League. There shall be no right of appeal against such expulsion.

108 Relaxation and Disapplication of Regulations Regarding Interests

108.1 The Board shall have power at any time and from time to time to relax or disapply the provisions of Regulations 100 to 107 inclusive, whether absolutely or conditionally, whether in whole or in part and whether generally or as regards its application to one or more Clubs or persons.

109 Disclosure and Publication of Ownership

109.1 A Club shall forthwith give notice to The League if any Person either directly or indirectly:

109.1.1 holds: or

109.1.2 acquires; or

109.1.3 having held or acquired, ceases to hold,

any Significant Interest in the Club.

109.2 A Club shall forthwith give notice to The League if it either directly or indirectly:

109.2.1 holds: or

109.2.2 acquires; or

109.2.3 having held or acquired, ceases to hold,

any Significant Interest in any other Club (or any other club anywhere in the World) and in this Regulation 109.2, the definition of Significant Interest shall be deemed to apply to such other clubs in the same way as to Clubs.

109.3 A Club shall forthwith give notice to The League if it is aware or if it becomes aware that any holder of a Significant Interest in it either directly or indirectly:

109.3.1 holds: or

109.3.2 acquires; or

109.3.3 having held or acquired, ceases to hold, any Significant Interest in any other Club (or any other club anywhere in the World) and in this Regulation 109.3, the definition of Significant Interest shall be deemed to apply to such other clubs in the same way as to Clubs. 109.4 Where any interests of the type set out in Regulation 109.2 or 109.3 exist as at the date of adoption of this Regulation, such interests shall be reported no later than 30th June 2015. 109.5 A notice given pursuant to the provisions of this Regulation 109 shall:

109.5.1 identify the Person holding, acquiring or ceasing to hold the Significant Interest in question; and

109.5.2 set out all relevant details of the Significant Interest including without limitation the number of Shares, their description and the nature of the interest; and

109.5.3 set out where appropriate the proportion (expressed in percentage terms) which the relevant Shares in respect of which the Significant Interest exists bear to the total number of Shares of that class in issue and of the total issued Shares of the Club.

109.6 Each Club shall publish the identities of the ultimate owner (Person, not Entity) of each Significant Interest in the Club (as that term is defined Rule 1.1 of Appendix 3). That information shall as a minimum be published on the Club’s official website on a page accessible directly from the home page of that official club website.

SECTION 11 ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS

110 Club Contracts

110.1 No Club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract to acquire the ability materially to influence its policies or the performance of its teams in League Matches or matches in any other recognised competition.

111 Minority Candidates

111.1 Subject to Regulation 111.7, any Academy Club seeking to appoint an individual to a Specified Role shall, as part of the recruitment process:

111.1.1 comply with any guidelines issued by The League from time to time regarding appropriate monitoring of applications including from Minority Candidates;

111.1.2 publicly advertise the vacancy for a period of not less than seven days, including on:

(a) the Club’s official website; and

(b) by passing a copy to The League for it to display on The League’s website and the Football Association’s ‘licensed coaching club website’;

111.1.3 where any application is received from any Minority Candidate(s), invite one or more Minority Candidate(s) to interview for that Specified Role.

111.2 Clubs must still comply with Regulation 23 (Club Employees / Relationships), but the refusal of another Club to grant permission to approach their Minority Candidate will not relieve the recruiting Club of its obligations under Regulation 111.1.

111.3 Invitations to interview any Minority Candidate for a Specified Role, whether accepted or declined, should be documented directly by the Club in a writing (which may be given by email) to the Minority Candidate, a copy of which must be retained by the Club.

111.4 Where an invitation to interview for a Specified Role is accepted, the Club must then interview the Minority Candidate.

111.5 Any refusal of a Minority Candidate to interview for a Specified Role should be recorded by the Club. Clubs should not accept a refusal by a Minority Candidate to interview that is conveyed by an Intermediary, but should obtain direct confirmation from the Minority Candidate themselves.

111.6 Nothing in this Regulation obliges a Club to offer the Specified Role to a Minority Candidate. Any appointment should be made on the basis of merit alone.

111.7 This Regulation will not apply where it is proposed to promote into the applicable Specified Role an internal candidate who is already fulfilling a different Specified Role at that Club, provided always that the Club then follows the process set out in this Regulation when recruiting for the vacancy created by that internal promotion.

111.8 Clubs shall provide reports in such format and at such times as The League requires relating to their compliance with the provisions of this Regulation (or any application of Regulation 111.7) in respect of each Specified Role, but to include the number of:

111.8.1 applications received; and

111.8.2 interviews offered, accepted and/or conducted, in each case identifying the numbers relating to BAME Candidates and separately, all other candidates. The League shall be entitled to publish anonymised data derived from those reports.

111.9 The requirements of this Regulation 111 are supplemental to any requirements of the Codes of Practice.

112 Supporter Engagement

112.1 Clubs shall hold at least two meetings/fans forums per Season to which its supporters (or representatives) are to be invited in order to discuss significant issues relating to the Club. The framework for these meetings shall be documented in the Club’s customer charter, but are subject to the following minimum criteria:

112.1.1 Clubs must be represented by the Club’s majority owner, board director(s) or other senior executive(s);

112.1.2 where meetings are not open to all supporters wishing to attend, the supporter representatives must be elected, selected or invited in line with basic democratic principles; and

112.1.3 individuals cannot be excluded by the Club without good reason (the Club acting reasonably).

113 Equality Act – Codes of Practice

113.1 The Board shall have the ability to, following consultation with the Football Association and Clubs, from time to time implement a code of practice on inclusion and anti-discrimination (Code of Practice).

113.2 Regulation 2 shall not apply to implementation of the Codes of Practice.

113.3 Clubs and their Officials shall observe and comply with the requirements of the Code of Practice and any breach thereof shall be treated as a breach of these Regulations.

114 Governing Law

114.1 English Law shall govern these Regulations and any proceedings under them. Any and all commissions, appeal bodies and arbitration panels shall apply English Law in determining any dispute referred to them under the Regulations.