UK Government releases plans to introduce an independent football regulator

The UK Government is set to introduce a new independent football regulator to test the fitness of new owners
The Premier League is set to introduce an independent regulator
The Premier League is set to introduce an independent regulator

(Football news) The UK Government has said that they will publish its White Paper on football governance today and will act on a recommended 2021 fan led review to create a regulator whose main purpose will be to ensure football clubs are run sustainably. With clubs such as Bury and Macclesfield collapsing in recent years, the regulator will run an owners and directors test with a focus on fitness and propriety of new owners after doing the due diligence. This will ensure that fans have a greater say in the running of their club in the event the owner wants to change aspects of the clubs heritage such as the badge, team name or home shirt colours.

After the formation of the European Super League in April 2021, the government introduced its plans to commission a fan led review where an independent regulator will have the power to stop English clubs from joining competitions that don’t fit into a predetermined criteria which could include closed breakaway leagues such as the European Super League, which could harm domestic football. The regulator could also step in if the Premier League, the EFL and the Football Association cannot reach a new settlement on how finances are redistributed to support the game at the lower levels.

As per discussions, EFL’s chairman Rick Parry is looking for 25% of all pooled broadcast revenues in a new settlement along with merit based payments in the Premier League and Championship as well as an abolition of parachute payments. The regulator’s powers according to the Government will be balanced in such a way that it will not affect the competitiveness and strength of the Premier League which is by far the strongest league financially in Europe. It remains to be seen if there will be a human rights element involved in the regulation, which might affect Sheikh Jassim’s bid for the takeover of Manchester United and could affect Newcastle United and Manchester City in some capacity.

A statement released by the Premier League read “The publication of this White Paper is a significant moment for English football. The Premier League and its clubs will now carefully consider the government’s plan for England to become the first major nation to make football a government-regulated industry. The Premier League, alongside the rest of English football, is a global success. We fully recognise that the passionate support of millions of football supporters is fundamental to our competition. We are proud that our success has been consistently shared for the benefit of the wider game, and of our clubs, who have a positive impact every day in their local communities.

“The Premier League recognises the case for change in football governance and continues to implement stronger and more independent regulation. We are strengthening our ownership rules and are already providing £1.6bn in financial support to the wider game in this current three-year cycle. We appreciate the government’s commitment to protect the Premier League’s continued success. It is vital that regulation does not damage the game fans love to watch in the deepest professional pyramid in the world, or its ability to attract investment and grow interest in our game.

“We will now work constructively with stakeholders to ensure that the proposed government regulator does not lead to any unintended consequences that could affect the Premier League’s position as the most-watched football league in the world, reduce its competitiveness or put the unrivalled levels of funding we provide at risk. The Premier League has already taken action to address many issues raised in the Fan-Led Review, and will work with government and parliamentarians on the next phase of the White Paper. We are committed to delivering a football-led solution to address key issues in the game – including financial distributions, financial controls and the football calendar – together with The FA and the EFL.”

Also read: Why Javi Gracia is the right appointment for Leeds United


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