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English football bodies exploring ways to protect clubs in leveraged takeovers

By Jamie Gardner
Getty Images

The Football Association, the Premier League and the EFL are exploring ways to ensure the debt around leveraged takeovers is structured to ensure the long-term survival of clubs.

Burnley’s accounts for the period ending July 31, 2021 revealed a significant loan repayment would be due in the event of their relegation from the Premier League, following a takeover by ALK Capital which used much of the club’s own money to complete.

The accounts stated that Burnley’s outstanding debts stood at £102million last summer, having been nil prior to the takeover.

The Glazer family also loaded debt on to Manchester United as a result of their 2005 takeover of the club.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham, speaking generally about ownership models in football rather than any club in particular, said: “The thing to look at in future ownership structures is the way in which the debt is structured to purchase a club, and making sure there’s enough security around that, that clubs are sustainable and secure moving forward.

“So it’s less about the identity of who purchased and rather the model in which the purchase takes place.

“It is something that we and the leagues are looking at as well, to make sure that whole area is explored in any new ownership model moving forward.”

He said it was an issue which could also fall under the remit of the new independent regulator for English football which was referenced in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday.

“(Leveraged buyouts) are absolutely something that will be explored. I didn’t say get rid of them completely – it’s the extent to which the buyer has leveraged that is important,” he added.

Bullingham believes the new regulator could sit “within the FA family” though not directly within the governing body itself.

“We’ve been clear that we think we can give Government a really strong argument as to how that regulator could sit alongside the FA and within the FA broader family,” he said.

“Those discussions are ongoing. I think we see the advantages that we can use some of our knowledge and we can intertwine it with the regulatory aspects that we do, but anybody would need to have a large degree of independence. So there’s a lot still to work through.”

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Dive Deeper:
FA working with leagues to tackle leveraged takeovers of clubs
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said it was working with the Premier League and EFL to tackle leveraged takeovers of…
Football fans can still have their say in this billionaires’ arms race
As American billionaire Todd Boehly, part owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team, buys Chelsea, cast your mind back to…
Man Utd’s Youth Cup win at packed Old Trafford showed club values – academy boss
Manchester United’s teenagers brought hope at the end of a tough season and academy boss Nick Cox believes the FA…
Man Utd’s Youth Cup win at packed Old Trafford showed club values, academy boss claims
United won the competition for a record 11th time with a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest in front of a…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Premier League in line for five Champions League places after Uefa reforms
The Premier League can soon expect to have five teams in the Champions League after Uefa confirmed changes to the…
Mason Mount aims to use Liverpool to overcome two heartbreaking Chelsea experiences
Mason Mount is hoping to finally get his hands on the FA Cup having suffered back-to-back final defeats with Chelsea
Get all your news in one place