Can the same individual own two football clubs at the same time?

Ownership of football clubs and the integrity of the competition

One of the key aspects of the sporting world is to protect the integrity of the competition. If there is not a fair competition in the sporting context then this completely overshadows the sporting contest.

It is therefore felt that if two football clubs are playing in the same competition and are owned by the same person or business this could have an adverse effect on the competition diminishing the integrity of the competition. As a consequence the same individual or business entity is unable to own two clubs playing in the same competition.

Football Association Premier League rules versus UEFA Rules

The dual ownership of football clubs is prohibited both under the rules of the Football Association Premier League and under the rules of the European Governing Body of football – UEFA. However, there are certain disparities between the two sets of rules.

FA Premier League Rules

Under the FA Premier League rules an owner of a football club or a director of a football club must adhere to the fit and proper test and must sign a declaration that they comply with this test. The fit and proper test applies to all directors and individuals holding over a 30% shareholding.

Accordingly anyone who owns or has the power to own a football club in the FA Premier League is regarded to fall outside the remit of the fit and proper test and unable to own another club.

UEFA Rules

The UEFA Rules were brought in following a high profile case in 2000 and were first established for the 2000/01 season. The rule prohibits two football clubs in which a person or a company has an interest from being admitted into the same UEFA club competition.

What is meant as having an interest in another club?

Having an interest in another football club has been defined as meaning the following:

  • The majority of the shareholders’ voting rights in another club in the same UEFA club competition

  •  The right to appoint or remove a majority of the directors in another club in the same UEFA club competition

  • The majority of the shareholders’ voting rights (through a shareholders’ agreement) in another club in the same UEFA club competition

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For more information on:

  • What are the potential issues between the two sets of rules?
  • Can an owner of a football club also have interests in other sporting teams of other companies?