As of 6 April 2016, all unlisted UK companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) must keep and maintain a statutory register of people with significant control over their affairs (“PSC”s).
The aim behind the new regime is to create transparency as to the individuals who, either directly or indirectly, control or significantly influence a business. Failure to keep and maintain a PSC register is a criminal offence on the part of both the corporate entity and any officer (i.e. any director or secretary) in default, punishable by an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence of up to two years. Persons who know (or ought to know) that they are a PSC who do not comply with the relevant disclosure requirements will also be open to criminal liability.
Any sports teams which operate through an unlisted UK company or LLP should therefore already have (and must maintain) a register detailing their PSCs. From 30 June 2016 onwards PSC information must be sent at least annually to Companies House and will be available on the public register.
This article looks at the PSC regime and considers its likely impact in the UK football industry. Whilst the PSC regime applies equally to corporate entities operating in all sports, the relative sophistication of the regulatory environment within football in the UK provides a useful tool for comparison from a corporate governance perspective and highlights how certain sports have already begun to create a forum for greater transparency of ownership.