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Caborn to lead consultancy on reducing ‘secret’ football investors

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Sports minister Richard Caborn is reportedly in consultation with a number of government departments including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to change legislation and reduce the number of ‘secret’ investors taking stakes in English football clubs.

Both the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and UEFA, football’s European governing body, are concerned about how vulnerable football clubs are to anonymous investors.

Prior to the consultation, Caborn also commissioned an independent review of European football during the UK’s presidency of the European Union. One of the review’s recommendations was an increase in regulations to ensure that secret investors or beneficiaries of football clubs were exposed.

Caborn said: "As the Prime Minister said in June, those aspects of the review that try to bring greater integrity to the way in which some of the financial transactions are conducted are especially worthwhile. I would urge those involved to be as open and transparent as possible."

A DTI spokesman confirmed the consultation was taking place, adding: "The recommendations from the review are still under discussion and the discussions are being led by the DCMS.”

Caborn’s move comes as West Ham United has opened takeover talks with Kia Joorabchian, the Iranian-British entrepreneur believed to be the front man for a number of Middle Eastern investors interested in taking a stake in the football club.

According to The Guardian, Joorabchian is also close to exiled Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky and Georgian Badri Patarkatsishvili, which has prompted speculation – denied by both – that they could be behind a bid to make West Ham the third Premiership club to be funded by cash from the former Soviet Union.

The European Commission is currently in the process of producing a white paper on European Sport. Details: www.culture.gov.uk or www.dti.gov.uk

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Sports minister Richard Caborn is reportedly in consultation with a number of government departments including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to change legislation and reduce the number of ‘secret’ investors taking stakes in English football clubs.
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