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Chris Dunlavy: It’s about time a more robust owners test was put in place

NEWS that the EFL will review their widely-ridiculed owners and directors test must be music to the ears of National League chiefs.

Currently, the League can prevent any individual from buying a football club, but only if they breach one of eight clearly-defined stipulations.

These include having an unspent criminal conviction, owning another football club, breaching gambling rules or being subject to insolvency proceedings.

That, however, didn’t stop Francesco Becchetti taking control of Leyton Orient. Nor did the Italian fall foul of any regulations whilst in charge.

In the eyes of the EFL, he was no dodgier than Mary Poppins. Yet everyone could see he was running Orient into the ground. Was he fit? Was he proper? Of course not – but nobody could do anything.

“What was considered important is what power the League have to step in and try and resolve issues over and above those that we already do,” said EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.

“The general view was that we needed to have a look at the pre-acquisition test to see if it should, and where it could, be expanded.”

As Harvey says, the EFL may be powerless. The type of people who buy league clubs these days tend to have deeper pockets and better lawyers than anybody at West Cliff.

Litigation frightens them. But at least they are attempting to tackle the problem at source. For decades, dodgepots and chancers have wormed through EFL defences.

Then, when the carcass is bare and twitching, it is dumped into the Conference to endure either painful rehabilitation or a slow, shrivelling death.

Thankfully, Orient are likely to fall into the former category. Others – Chester, Darlington, Halifax – weren’t so lucky, leaving the Conference to deal with all manner of personal and administrative fallout.

It’s like your next door neighbour letting a load of p***ed-up yobs into his house for a party and you having to repair the garden fence. It isn’t fair, and it’s high time – for everyone’s sake – that a more robust test is devised.

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