The EFL's fit-and-proper person test is failing in its purpose to save clubs from mismanagement, writes Katie Whyatt in today's Telegraph Sport:
"Bradford City fans have had precious little to celebrate this season, but the news that joint chairman Edin Rahic is expected to leave the club has at least provided a ray of light amid the gloom.
Rahic and his fellow German investor Stefan Rupp paid £5million for a 100 per cent buyout in 2015. Three years and five head coaches later, Bradford are bottom of League One, with the worst record of any club in the four professional divisions over the calendar year, and a return to League Two looking increasingly likely after their escape from the basement division six years earlier.
This remember, is a club who reached the 2013 League Cup final as a League Two team and were in the top flight as recently as 2001. Their rapid descent followed soon after, speeded by having maxed out every credit card going during their lads' holiday in the Premier League. There were two administrations during that time and they woke up in the bottom tier as all of us do after headier days: hung- over and terrified of checking their bank balance.
Bradford's annus horribilis in 2018 has played out like a grim tragicomedy, but they are far from the only former Premier League club to have fallen foul of a wildly unpopular owner.
Cautionary tales litter the English Football League and while the likes of Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Coventry City and Leyton Orient - the latter now all the way down in the National League - will be hoping their worse days are behind them, for others the battle wages on.
There are enough clubs who can stake bigger claims than Bradford to having been failed by the EFL, but the whole sorry saga again highlights the limits of the oft-maligned fit-and-proper person test. The test focuses on associations between clubs, disciplinary matters, criminality, company disqualifications and insolvency matters.
There is no assessment for competence or, aside from criminality, conduct. To an extent that is understandable, as what constitutes a bad owner will always be subjective, but that is of scant consolation to fans and, moreover, the employees at the heart of the storm in a club descending into calamity.
Who are football chairmen actually answerable to? Would an employee, at the bottom of the food chain in a club who have become the plaything of a rich, powerful oligarch ever feel protected enough or able to whistleblow should they feel compelled to?
The League Managers Association offers legal advice to football employees, but you can understand why, with so many seeking a route into the industry, those inside clubs would be scared to rock the boat.
That is a whole other issue that hovers outside the remit of the EFL's test. And this is a test that, let us not forget, is so stringent and rigorous it allowed Leeds' Massimo Cellino to slip the net. The EFL ultimately banned him three times, twice for evading tax and once for illegal payment to an unlicensed agent during the sale of Ross McCormack.
Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said last year the test is not fit for purpose and he wants to emulate the test used by Ofcom to award broadcasting licenses. Ofcom assesses applicants previous behaviour in business.
It is unclear if more robust legislation is the answer, but history has given us reason to doubt the test, in its current guise, is sufficient to protect clubs and those who work for them."
Not a particularly good article but strange that Blackpool don't get a mention. I think the media are getting bored with us.
As Spiel points out....Here we have an article about dodgy ownership, asset stripping and the failure of the league to even look at the matter, that mentions other clubs in addition to lead tale of Bradford City .... likes of Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Coventry City and Leyton Orient .
Not a fucking word about about Oyston and Blackpool despite asset stripping having been proven in court.
too many fans have piggybacked on the “bad owners” complaint.
Blackpool, Coventry, Charlton and Portsmouth are Clubs that really needed the help of theEFL.
The rest are just moaning twats!
I would add Orient to that list.
I don't know the full Bradford story but them complaining has come from nowhere. What is so bad about their situation?