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Chester owner ruled by FA as not a "fit and proper person"

Stephen Vaughan has become the first owner of a professional football club required to reduce his shareholding because, according to FA rules, he is no longer a "fit and proper person", reports The Guardian. Vaughan, a Liverpool businessman who bought the Conference club Chester City in 2001 and owns 100% of the shares, was last week disqualified from acting as a director of any company until November 2020, following his involvement in a £500,000 VAT fraud.

The FA's rules, which apply to Conference clubs, state that anybody disqualified as a company director cannot hold 30% or more of a club's shares. The FA will write to Vaughan requiring him to sell or give up his majority stake in City within 21 days of the disqualification taking effect on 25 November.

If he does not comply, the club could ultimately be expelled from the Conference.

In a statement, the FA said: "We are aware of the Insolvency Service decision and will be taking necessary steps under the requirements of the fit and proper person test."

The case could test the rules' effectiveness, however, because according to City's managing director, Bob Gray, Vaughan may hand the shares to one of his sons.

"He has to relinquish his shares," Gray acknowledged, "but who he gives them to is up to him. He could keep them within the family."

If that happened, the FA would have to be satisfied that Vaughan was not still "exercising direct or indirect control" over the club's affairs, which the rules prohibit for somebody declared not "fit and proper".

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