FIFA President Sepp Blatter Wants Rules to Curb Foreign Ownership
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has called for more stringent rules on foreign ownership of soccer clubs in England and elsewhere in Europe. Many of England's top teams are owned by overseas billionaires who, Blatter believes, treat storied franchises as playthings.
"Something has to be done about these billionaire owners," Blatter told reporters at the European Parliament.
"These days you can buy a club as easily as you buy a football jersey. There is something wrong and that's why I ask the European Union to act.
"This is not just about England where the problem is acute. This will spread across Europe."
While Blatter did not single out any particular team, the FIFA head was likely referring to teams such as American-owned Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as Chelsea FC, which is owned by Roman Abramovich, a Russian olilgarch who is worth £11.7 billion and is currently building the world's largest private yacht.
The latest high-profile purchase came in September when the Abu Dhabi United Group bought Manchester City and instantly poured millions into team payroll.
"There are national laws in Switzerland, for example, when you buy property or make an investment, you must prove yourself," he explained. "You have to prove your link with the area.
"We must ask ourselves about what motivates these owners and are they really interested in the game or just making money?
"There must be better control of football's finances especially in the difficult climate we are facing. I urge Uefa to work with the EU to tighten up the rules, otherwise there will be big financial difficulties in the future."