The Premier League clubs have agreed to new rules that will make individuals guilty of human rights abuses unable own or become directors of one of their teams.
Under the new rules approved by the Premier League on Thursday, human rights abuses, based on the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020, will now be one of several additional ‘Disqualifying Events’ under an improved Owners’ And Directors’ Test (OADT).
The new arrangement comes amid growing pressure on the league to probe Newcastle United’s majority shareholders, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, for their involvement in Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights crimes. The US legal authorities have accused the company of being an instrument of the country’s state.
Amnesty International, a global Human Rights watchdog, named Saudi Arabia one of the countries where human rights abuse is rife, with what they termed a ‘Horrendous execution spree’ and crackdown of activists at the top of the list of abuses. However, the kingdom has faced no sanctions.
At the same time, their company Saudi Public Investment Fund, has successfully bought shares in top European football teams, with Newcastle being the most popular of the lot.
Meanwhile, it was revealed last year that top-flight chiefs discussed adding a human rights component to the OADT following a review of their regulation.
With the new laws, they now have the power to stop people from becoming directors in PL clubs where they are under investigation for conduct that would result in a ‘disqualifying event’ if proven.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Premier League confirmed that at least 14 votes are required from the 20 clubs in the league to effect the necessary changes.
A total of six fundamental changes have been implemented as part of the shake-up, featuring a new range of ‘Disqualifying Events’, which have been included in the OADT test.
The league has also extended the list of criminal offences resulting in disqualification, including corruption, tax evasion, violence, fraud, and hate crimes.
The list of regulatory authorities has also been increased, with suspensions from the Charity Commission, Prudential Conduct Authority, FCA, Gambling Commission and HMRC now resulting in disqualification.
League officials can also take action against individuals involved in previous insolvencies in a broader range of circumstances.