9 Oct 2008

Blatter urges stricter rules on foreign ownership

8:06 am on 9 October 2008

The FIFA President Sepp Blatter wants stricter rules on foreign ownership of European clubs which has left football exposed amid the economic downturn.

Blatter told reporters at the European Parliament that something has to be done about these billionaire owners so he is urging UEFA to work with the European Union to tighten up the rules or else there will be big financial difficulties in the future.

The surge of foreign investment by wealthy businessmen in clubs, notably in England, was one of the issues the head of world soccer's governing body addressed with EU lawmakers in Brussels.

European soccer's governing body UEFA is investigating whether there should be tighter ownership rules and has questioned the motive of owners and the sustainability of large overseas investments.

Last month Manchester City became the latest English Premier League club to be bought by wealthy foreign investors, the Abu Dhabi United Group, following in the footsteps of neighbours Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea among others.

Liverpool's US owners have delayed the building of a new stadium due to the worldwide credit crunch.

Question marks have also been raised over United's record shirt sponsorship deal with insurer AIG which was subject to a US bailout last month.