Government confirms support for a new football regulator

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries says the government WILL support a new football regulator which would force Premier League teams to share more of their wealth, take action against reckless owners and give fans a say in how clubs are run

  • Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has confirmed her support for a new regulator
  • Review of football led by Tracey Crouch recommended the move in her report
  • Dorries tweeted she’s ‘endorsing in principle the… primary recommendation’
  • Secretary of State’s enthusiastic support came only 12 hours after the review

The Government has wasted no time in confirming its intention to create a new regulator for football, after the Culture Secretary tweeted her support after just 12 hours of a report recommending the measure.

Nadine Dorries took to social media this morning to endorse the key recommendation in a review of the English game, led by former sports minister and Conservative MP, Tracey Crouch.

Recommendation number one was the creation of an Independent Football Regulator, in order to curb the actions of reckless owners, save clubs from going bust and create a fairer financial distribution.

Ms Dorries is clearly all in favour.

Fans support for reform of football has increased after the European Super League fiasco

‘We’ve seen clubs with centuries of traditions, such as Bury and Macclesfield Town, disappear entirely, while the European Super League threatened the very foundations of the game,’ said the Culture Secretary.

‘The review also lays bare that incentives in the game all too often lead to reckless financial decision making. While the Government will take time to respond to the review’s recommendations in full, today we are endorsing in principle the review’s primary recommendation.

‘This review makes clear that we’re at a turning point for football in this country. Football clubs are the hearts of their local communities, and this Government will ensure they are properly run and fans are protected.’

Tracey Crouch’s (left) fan-led review is set to be supported by the Government. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has wasted no time in endorsing the key recommendation for a football regulator

The precise scope of the new regulator will be determined by Government.

It would be created through an Act of Parliament and within that its powers would be defined. It is likely that as the legislation is drawn up there will be a fierce lobbying war to water down certain aspects of any Bill.

Once in place, a regulator would be able to enforce the rules. It will hold the clubs’ licenses to play in professional leagues. 

Snd the new body could revolutionise English football if some of the review’s more radical recommendations are implemented.

The recommendations in the Crouch report suggest it should ensure tighter financial controls and stronger governance in clubs, tougher tests for owners and directors, as well as increased amounts of money shared by the wealthy Premier League with the EFL and rest of football.

Crouch has said the Premier League will be given 18 months to agree a new financial distribution with the Premier League and remove parachute payments, or a new regulator will use its powers to impose a solution.

Clubs that receive parachute payments are twice as likely to be promoted to the top flight

However, the precise scope of the new regulator will be determined by Government, but it could revolutionise English football if some of the review’s more radical recommendations are implemented.

They include a new, 10 per cent levy on transfers between Premier League clubs and overseas sides to be handed to EFL clubs, the overhaul of the parachute payment system for relegated teams and powers to stop owners’ spending and reduce clubs’ wage bills if the regulator considers them reckless.

The review led by Ms Crouch, gathered 100 hours of evidence, spoke to representatives of 130 clubs, as well as the football authorities, and surveyed 20,000 fans.

Teddy Sheringham of Nottingham Forest fires past David James of Liverpool to score the only goal in a 1-0 win for Forest in the first Premier League game to be televised on Sky. Since then revenues have rocketed in the Premier League (below) and left the EFL trailing in their wake

The cost of screening Premier League football at home and abroad has rocketed since 1992

Today, supporters welcomed the rapid response from the Culture Secretary. 

‘Normally you wait months and sometimes years for a response,’ said Malcolm Clarke, the chairman of the Football Supporters’ Association. 

‘So to get a tweet from the Secretary of State the morning after the review was published was welcome news.

‘And we hope the Government will make the legislative time to get it done.’

Premier League clubs could soon face regulation if the recommendations of the Crouch Report are acted upon by Government

Ms Crouch and her team hope a new regulator will be in force for the 2023-24 season, however, the review recommends that recruitment to the body begins before any legislation receives Royal Assent.

The proposal is to create a shadow board, which will hit the ground running. In the meantime, there is an expectation on the football authorities, the Premier League, EFL and FA, to resolve some issues, such as financial flows. 

In a statement, the Premier League said: ‘We recognise the vital importance of fans and the need to restore and retain their trust in football’s governance. 

‘We also acknowledge the call for some form of independent regulation to protect English football’s essential strengths and the Premier League has already undertaken our own governance and strategic reviews. These will continue to progress together with the ongoing work of the Fan Led Review.’ 

Meanwhile, the chairman of the EFL, Rick Parry, said: ‘Having been consistent in our view that professional football requires a fundamental financial reset in order to deliver sustainability across the pyramid, we are happy that this is a key recommendation in the Fan Led Review of Football Governance published today.’

With respect to an independent regulator, Parry said ‘the EFL will continue to engage in a constructive debate about the breadth and scope of regulation required’. 

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