Human Rights 'abuser' Is 'fit And Proper Person' For City

Last updated : 01 August 2007 By Editor

The Indie:

The Premier League has denied claims by a leading human rights group that Thaksin Shinawatra should have been prevented from taking control of Manchester City.

Thailand's military rulers have seized assets worth an estimated £1bn from the country's former prime minister since he was ousted in a coup last October while several corruption charges have been brought against the 58-year-old during his exile in London.

Amnesty International questioned Thaksin's human rights record during his five-years as the head of a democratically elected government and, in an investigation broadcast by BBC Radio Five Live last night, it was revealed that Human Rights Watch had questioned whether the businessman was a 'fit and proper person' to own an English club in a letter sent to the Premier League.

The letter drew attention to several alleged human rights violations but, in line with the view of the former City hierarchy prior to the takeover, the Premier League questioned the motivation behind the charges against Thaksin by Thailand's military rulers and insisted he remained free under English law to own the Premiership club.

"We have very clear rules on the ownership of our clubs, which include the Fit and Proper Persons Test (FAPPT), which go beyond any requirement by UK company law and are, to our knowledge, some of the sternest in place in any UK industry," read a Premier League statement last night.

"The FAPPT means anyone convicted of a range of offences would not be permitted to become a director, or a shadow director, at a club. But what needs to be made clear is that in the first place we accept the primacy of UK and European law. This determines who may, and who may not, legally reside in the UK, own and acquire assets, and engage in commercial and other activities."