In a week where Chelsea football club have appeared more Harchester United than current Champions of Europe, conversations around sport-washing and footballing owners has arisen once more.
The Blues former owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned with Chelsea unable to sign players, sell tickets and must rely on current cash reserves to pay players and staff.
It seems so often now the beautiful game should show its uglier qualities, but Chelsea is just one in a long line of clubs who need their ownerships shoved through a thorough litmus test.
For example, Newcastle United’s seismic takeover by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) last October was met with a mixed bag of opinions.
The ‘Toon Army’ rejoiced as dollar signs filled their eyes with dreams of success, however, humanitarian groups such as Amnesty International have frequently condemned the £300m deal.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel along with Newcastle manager Eddie Howe have faced questions regarding their employers to which they quickly brush aside with comments such as “can we stick to football?”
It is obviously an uncomfortable position to be in as a coach getting asked such questions, but it is also pivotal that they are asked.
This week, Amnesty’s head of campaigns, Felix Jaxens, spoke on the neutrality that was shown by Howe following the execution of 81 people in Saudi Arabia.
“He (Howe) is not the person who makes overall decisions about the ownership,” said Jaxens. “But he does have a voice to speak up about these issues.”
Accountability unfortunately has fallen on the blue side of London who chant the name of their former leader, Abramovich – a man who seemed the perfect owner until just last week.
Yet why was Roman sufficient? or PIF? or the endless lists of football owners who bankroll football clubs whilst operating in shadier pastures.
The Premier League lacks a proper test of owners and directors prior to buying clubs; it seems as though the test is passible as long as there are enough funds in the bank.
Section F of the Premier league handbook is littered with rules and regulations as to the various reasons as to how a new owner may fail the current test.
The obvious reasons such as previous financial administrations and conflicts of interests by owning another EFL club are there. However, whilst there is mention of criminal acts, there is no specific human rights violation section of the test.
Whilst many would rather shove their heads in the proverbial sand rather than address the issue of sports washing that appears so rife in the world of sport, it is a problem that is only growing.