England's Premier League will address British government concerns over the finances and ownership of top clubs by enforcing new rules, including a more stringent examination of those running teams.
|Richard Scudamore believes the new rules are 'above and beyond' the UK's laws [GALLO/GETTY]
Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to the rules proposed by chief executive Richard Scudamore, which include publishing the identity of all shareholders with more than a 10 percent stake in a club and a ban on anyone becoming a director or owning a controlling stake if they have been sentenced to more than a year in jail.
The rules, which are likely to be adopted for next season, are a response to a letter last year from government minister Andy Burnham about the financial sustainability and governance of the game in England.
"These regulations go above and beyond the laws of the land,'' Scudamore said.
"Clubs have bought into this and I am confident we can have further progress in the future.
"These rules will help to steer us through what could be choppy waters.''
The Premier League also plans to follow Uefa by demanding a financial sustainability plan before issuing a license to play in the competition.
Clubs failing to meet the new requirements could be banned from signing players or forced to sell assets.
Scudamore's proposals did not directly address last month's comments by lawmakers that clubs including Manchester United and Liverpool engaged in "ludicrous levels of borrowing.''
But Scudamore said the new rules should help clubs stay solvent, avoiding a repeat of the situation with Leeds, which was relegated in 2004 and went into administration despite having been forced to offload all its top players.
"At our level there really ought not to be any club that suffers an insolvency event but we have a system that should prevent it,'' Scudamore said.
"The way our rules are configured we are unlikely to be evicting anyone from the league so it's a question of finding other sanctions.''
Meanwhile, the English Football League has announced that attendances outside England's Premier League rose again this season to a 50-year high despite the recession.
Total attendances for the three divisions below the top flight soared above 16 million for the fifth consecutive season with the Championship (second division) retaining its place as the fourth most watched league in Europe.
England's second tier is more popular than Italy's Serie A with only the Premier League, Spain's Primera Liga and Germany's Bundesliga pulling in bigger crowds.
"Given the prevailing financial climate, maintaining this progress will be a significant challenge for clubs," Football League chairman Brian Mawhinney said.
While crowds are booming, the impact of relegation from the Premier League is still harsh with Southampton, Charlton Athletic and Norwich City, all recently top flight clubs, relegated this season to the third tier of English football.