Finally, Some Transparency in Premier League Ownership

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Last October, then Culture Secretary Andy Burnham put considerable pressure on the Premier League to increase its clubs financial transparency and regulation with a series of penetrating questions which asked the League to “reassess its relationship with money”. The League, as David Conn put it, neatly “body-swerved” the meat of Burnham’s proposals with its response this year, which we’ll continue to look at.

But one step the Premier League has taken in response is to require every member club to list in public all those with a share over 10% of the club. Previously, this information was known only internally to the Premier League itself, but the League asked all clubs to list the information on their websites by yesterday, September 1st.

Some of it is buried and difficult to find, if it’s even listed at all. Indeed, as the League was forced to admit, not all Premier League clubs have complied with the request, with six failing to do so by the end of business yesterday.

But by today, even Manchester City had added the information to their page: “Manchester City Football Club is owned 90% by His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and 10% by Worldwide Investments Limited.” (Don’t you just love the name Worldwide Investments Limited?  The scope is truly worldwide! And their website is quite a gem, explaining their “manegemnt” skills but curiously failing to list Manchester City as one of their investments).

Not surprisingly, the list shows that foreign-ownership is the norm, with 11 majority-owned overseas, and several others ultimately held offshore.

This listing is a small step towards the more radical demands from Burnham last fall for football to be reorientated towards its permanent stakeholder — supporters — but at least a little more transparency is now in place so fans know who owns their club.

Here’s the full list of Premier League shareholders over 10%, via the Telegraph.

Arsenal
Stan Kroenke 28.5 per cent; Red & White Securities 25.1 per cent; Danny Fiszman 16.1 per cent; Lady Bracewell-Smith 15.9 per cent

Aston Villa
Randy Lerner and family via Reform Acquisitions LLC (US)

Birmingham City*
Grandtop Holdings (Carson Yeung) 29.9 per cent, David Sullivan 24.4 per cent, David Gold 10 per cent, Ralph Gold 12.5 per cent

Blackburn Rovers
Trustees of the Jack Walker 1987 Settlement (Jersey)

Bolton Wanderers
Eddie Davies via Fildraw Private Trust (Isle of Man)

Burnley
Barry Kilby 30.0 per cent; Brendan Flood 24.4 per cent; other directors 30.5 per cent

Chelsea
Roman Abramovich via Chelsea Limited

Everton
Bill Kenwright 25 per cent; Jon Woods 19 per cent; Robert Earl 23 per cent

Fulham
Mohamed Fayed and family via Mafco Holdings (Virgin Islands)

Hull City
Majority shareholder Russell Bartlett

Liverpool
George Gillett and Tom Hicks via Kop Investment LLC (Delaware)

Manchester City
90 per cent Abu Dhabi United Group; 10 per cent World Wide Investment Limited (Dubai)

Manchester United
Malcolm Glazer and family via Red Football Limited Partnership (Nevada)

Portsmouth
Sulaiman Al Fahim via Al Fahim Asia Associates

Stoke City
Peter Coates and family via bet365 Group

Sunderland
Ellis Short via Sunderland Limited

Tottenham Hotspur
ENIC 71.3 per cent

West Ham
CB Holdings, majority-owned by Icelandic bank Straumur

Wigan
Dave Whelan and family, via Whelco Holdings Ltd (UK)

Wolves
Steve Morgan, via Bridgemere Investments Ltd (Guernsey)

*Correct at Aug19. Yeung has since launched full takeover, accepted by board

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