JUST IN: UK Gov’t To Introduce Independent Football Regulator

UK Gov't To Introduce Independent Football Regulator

Gov't To Introduce Independent Football Regulator


The will continue plans for an independent football regulator when the Football Governance Bill is introduced in Parliament on Tuesday.

The legislation would grant powers to a body, independent of government and football authorities, to oversee clubs in 's top five men's tiers.

The government announced plans to appoint a regulator in February 2023, following a -led review in 2022.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was “a historic moment for football fans”.

“It will make sure their voices are front and centre,” he added. “Football has long been one of our greatest sources of national pride.

“But for too long some clubs have been abused by unscrupulous owners who get away with financial mismanagement, which at worst can lead to complete collapse – as we saw in the upsetting cases of Bury and Macclesfield Town.”

After the Bill is introduced, it must go through parliamentary process before it is passed into law.

The legislation follows a fan-led review, which said a regulator was necessary for the long-term financial stability of the men's professional game after issues, including financial mismanagement and plans for a breakaway European Super League.

Everton and have both been deducted points this season for breaching Premier League profit and sustainability rules (PSR).

The regulator will have powers revolving around three core objectives: improving financial sustainability of clubs, ensuring financial resilience across the leagues and safeguarding English football's heritage.

Rick Parry, chair of the English Football League (EFL), said: “If delivered on the right terms, this landmark legislation can help fix the game's broken financial model by offering the independent input ultimately needed to help ensure that all clubs can survive and thrive in a fair and competitive environment.”

A Premier League statement read: “With our clubs, we have advocated for a proportionate regime that enables us to build on our position as the most widely watched league in the .

“Mindful that the future growth of the Premier League is not guaranteed, we remain concerned about any unintended consequences of legislation that could weaken the competitiveness and appeal of English football.

“The Premier League remains fully committed to delivering its world-leading funding to the wider game, through £1.6bn distributed to all levels of football across the current three-year term.”

New club owners and directors will stronger tests to help prevent the possibility of them putting clubs out of , as was the case with Bury and Macclesfield, while a licensing system covering clubs from the National League up to the Premier League has been proposed.

As part of their licence, clubs will be required to consult their fans on key off-field decisions, such as club heritage and the club's strategic direction.

“Football is nothing without its fans,” said Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer. “We are determined to put them back at the heart of the game and ensure clubs as vital community assets continue to thrive.

“The new regulator will set the game on a sustainable footing, strengthening clubs and the entire football pyramid for generations.”

The bill also includes new backstop powers around financial distributions between the Premier League and the EFL, so that if the two parties continue to fail to agree on a ‘new deal', the regulator can ensure a settlement is reached.

The government has long warned the football authorities that an independent football regulator (IFR) would have such powers to intervene.

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch, who chaired the fan-led review, said: “Football fans can begin to breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that the next steps towards protecting the long-term sustainability of the pyramid have now been taken.”

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters' Association, added: “The FSA warmly welcomes the tabling of the Football Governance Bill arising from the 2021 fan-led review, and particularly its central proposal to introduce statutory independent regulation of the game.

“The regulator must be given the power to impose a financial settlement in the interests of the sustainability of the game as a whole. It is far too important to be left to the squabbling between the vested interests of the richest club owners.”

However, campaign group Fair Game said “at first glance” it looks like the bill has “missed the target” and that they have “failed to get assurances that the regulator will have the power to intervene”.

owner David Sullivan told Sky Sports: “The Premier League is the best league in the world so why change a winning formula?

“I hope the government don't wreck something that works. If over the coming seasons the Premier League ceases to be the best league in the world, it will be down to an interfering government.”

He added: “Between the 20 clubs there is almost £2bn of debt, so there isn't really ‘available cash' to give away.”

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