MPs call for end to huge club debts

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An inquiry into football by a group of MPs has called for rule changes to prevent new owners saddling clubs with huge amounts of debt. The recommendations by the all-party Parliamentary Football Group would, if implemented, prevent takeovers similar to those of the Glazer family at Manchester United and Tom Hicks and George Gillett at Liverpool. Loans to clubs by owners such as Chelsea's Roman Abramovich would also be treated as debt. The MPs have no power to enforce any changes but could influence thinking on future policy. In their report on "English Football & Its Governance", the MPs say that the current "fit and proper persons" test should be changed so that it also takes into account whether any prospective new owner is preparing to raise debt on the club's assets. Other recommendations include for English football to adopt the Fifa president Sepp Blatter's "6+5" rule, limiting the number of foreign players in starting XIs. The MPs also say that there should be more independent members on the FA board, the Premier League board and the Football Regulatory Authority, and each club should have at least one fans' representative on the board.