The Football League: What Cost Will Ownership Ruling Have On Clubs?

Mark BatemanCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05: Notts County  director of football, Sven-Göran Eriksson, watches from the stands during the Coca-Cola League Two match between Notts County and Burton Albion at Meadow Lane on September 5, 2009 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

In the modern game takeovers and foreign investment are all the rage in the Premier League.  But now, thanks to the takeover at Notts County by Munto Finance, clubs in the Football League are under scrutiny.

Under a new ruling by the Football League Board, the actions and persons involved in the takeover at Meadow Lane are under review, as are the ownership of Leeds United and the involvement of disgraced former Formula One Team Principal Flavio Briatore at QPR.

Under new rules being implemented, the Football League and, by extension, the general public would know the names of people and businesses involved in the ownership of a club in the Championship, League One, and League Two.

This is all part of English Football’s attempt to clean up and become more transparent, which has become a very popular idea in the UK recently, through polticians, bankers, etc...

But this latest gesture by Lord Mawhinney and his colleagues at Gloucester Palace is both needless and potentially dangerous when weighed up against the small positives that will be gained.

First of all, how many football fans know exactly who owns the club they support? And two, do they really care?

That simple arguement aside, it is important to remember that many clubs who play their business in the Football League are only regularly on the lookout for potential investment or takeovers to make up for the crippling losses they suffered by the collapse of ITV Digital, in 2002, which is still forcing a number of clubs against the wall.

ITV Digital was endorsed by the Football League, and they should share more of the blame for clubs who are in or are facing financial ruin now.

But instead of helping them, they brow beat them with threats of points deductions, relegation, and transfer embargos, and are quick to enforce those punishments when one of these teams does call in the administrators.

The fact of the matter is, football is a business and no longer just a sport or even simply a form of entertainment.

In the world of business, companies have investors who do not wish to be named or are not involved with the day-to-day running known as ‘silent partners.’ All they do is supply investment and take home a share of the profits.

These people, usually successful business persons, will be frightened away from the idea of taking over at a lower league football club in this country when these rules are placed into effect.

It is a dilemma, but if these people choose not to invest in football in this country they will go elsewhere, much to the future detriment of the sport here in England.