League One club Forest Green Rovers owner Dale Vince insists Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS must not be allowed to buy Manchester United.
Ratcliffe’s INEOS are one of two suitors who went public with their intention to buy the Old Trafford club after the Glazer family launched a bidding process late last year.
INEOS is one of the world’s largest chemical companies, but given the nature of its business it has drawn criticism from environmental groups.
Vince, the owner of green energy company Ecotricity, believes the Premier League should step in to block any takeover attempts, although he doesn’t expect any action.
“In my opinion, Ratcliffe should not be allowed to own a Premier League club, in the same way that oil states should not be allowed,” he said. the athletic. “We are allowing sport laundering of fossil fuels and massive environmental damage when we do that. However, I don’t expect him to be prevented from taking possession.
“Foreign citizens and entities must not be allowed to own English clubs. At the heart of all this is a tax question: Does Ratcliffe reside and pay tax in the UK? The various oil funds and states (who are involved in other Premier League clubs) don’t.”
The current owners and directors test, which assesses the suitability of potential new owners of Premier League clubs, does not consider environmental issues and was not addressed in the UK government’s white paper published on Thursday.
Barney Weston, director of Football For Future, said the test “should certainly include environmental issues when considering whether to buy a club” and Vince agrees.
“It would be nice if environmental issues were part of the owner-director test,” he said. “The Premier League is currently being used to wash the oil states of the Middle East.
“Russian money was kicked out of the Premier League last year because of the war in the Ukraine, but the government allowed Saudi money to buy Newcastle, despite the ongoing war in Yemen, which has claimed more lives, and the horrible murder of journalist Jamal. Khashoggi. We lack consistency.
“I am concerned about the continued ownership and sporting laundering that is taking place, as well as the long-term impact on fans, clubs and their reputations.
“Premier League clubs are generally at the gibberish stage of ecological evolution where they (just) recognize it as a problem they need to spread.
“The situation with fossil fuel sponsorship of football cannot help the drive to make football more sustainable and encourage fans, as part of that, to do their bit. The owners of several Premier League clubs are the creators of the climate crisis, they profit from it and from business as usual.
What Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s offer for Manchester United really means
(Top photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)