Gary Neville's motives on football club ownership probed: 'There are some questions'

The former Manchester United defender wants to see a regulator introduced into the sport

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Gary Neville is in the spotlight over his views on football club ownership.

The former Manchester United defender, who now co-owns League Two club Salford City, has called for a regulator to be implemented in football so that any new potential takeovers can be vetted before they are completed.

His comments come after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the Government for his ties to the Kremlin amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Abramovich has been actively looking to sell the west London club as a result of the sanctions, with a whole host of potential buyers circling as they attempt to complete a deal.

Gary Neville wants a regulator in football
Gary Neville wants a regulator in football

Mr Neville said: "You've got Chinese money sat over here, you've got Russian money sat over here, you've got Abu Dhabi money sat over here, who were abstaining at the UN during that period. You've obviously got the Saudi money at Newcastle.

"And they'll [the Premier League] be sat there, very nervously thinking 'if we don’t set a precedent here, what do we do?'"

Victoria Hewson has questioned Gary Neville's comments
Victoria Hewson has questioned Gary Neville's comments

“And the Premier League only reacted after the Government sanctioned Chelsea in removing Roman Abramovich as a director. They weren’t pro-active, which is not leadership, because they don’t know what to do on this subject,” he told Sky Sports.

But Victoria Hewson, from the Institute for Economic Affairs, has questioned Mr Neville’s motive following his comments.

She told GB News: “I think people need to be very careful what they wish for, some would argue that some of the businesspeople involved with Gary Neville and at Salford are not exactly pillars of the local community so there are some questions about where his interests really lie here.

“But also does the idea of a football run by a body like the Financial Conduct Authority that regulates the banks which Tracey Crouch specifically uses as the model that she wants to apply in football.

“Would anyone really say that they think financial services and banking is a vibrant, community-led industry where the interests of consumers are reflected, and people really love interacting with their bank.

“I’m not sure that that’s a really great model which translates to football very well.”