Introduced in 2004, the fit-and-proper persons test was introduced for the Premier League, National League and Scottish Premier League.

These tests attempt to ensure anyone who takes over a club in these leagues, or owns 30% or more of a club, is an ethically sound person and is fit to run a football club.

The Premier League states that the test “outlines requirements that would prohibit an individual from becoming an owner or director of a club.

“These background checks include looking for criminal convictions of a wide range of offences, a ban by a sporting or professional body, or breaches of certain key football regulations, such as match-fixing.

“The test is applied to prospective owners and directors, who are then subject to a review on a seasonal basis.”

As these owners are regularly of high power, and due to their worth, have common links with political parties and other possible controversial ties, the Premier League attempts to ensure those who apply for a club ownership do not hold any criminal convictions or have the capability to damage the league, club, players or supporters.

There are many issues that can prove someone unfit to own a club, and therefore disqualify them from attempting to gain control or ownership of a football club.

These include having power or significant interest of another football league club, the person is filing for bankruptcy or they have involvement in a previous club having financial issues, including being unable to clear debts.

Within the last 10 years or so, there have been clubs that have faced financial issues, including Liverpool FC.

The Merseyside giants were only 24 hours from administration when former owner Christian Purslow sold the club to current owners Fenway Sports Group.

The involvement of new American owners bought away the emotional attachment Purslow had and made Liverpool into the business it is today. 

The new LFC owners are now thriving financially, and over periods of Covid, only reported a £4.8 million loss pre tax.

This is a huge achievement in the grand scheme of other businesses and clubs, and proves how the investment and success of the club has allowed their recent financial stab 

The issue of financial problems is not common in the Premier League, especially to the extent of administration.

This seems to be prevented by the owner’s and director’s tests, which ensures a new owners finances are in order. 

However, is this test ensuring these owners are ethically sound, rather than financially? 

In recent issues, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been bought to the attention of the Premier League and public due to his involvement in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

After being tied with Russian president Vladimir Putin and stepping down from his position at Chelsea, his ethical standpoint and background has been questioned.

The club has now been put up for sale, and Abramovich will be looking to detach himself from it once an owner with capable funds for the club comes into place. 

Government sanctions were put in place against Abramovich after the news of the war and his involvement surfaced.

His history with being banned from the UK, along with other controversial financial and ethical issues, lead to this action being taken and the UK government forcing him to move away from the club, at least temporarily. 

But, are the Premier League responsible for the involvement of Abramovich in the club and the league, or is the new found information at too high of a stature for the league to act upon?

Professor Peter Millward, humanities and social studies at Liverpool John Moores University, gave his insight into the fit-and-proper person’s test and if Abramovich would be granted ownership today.