Ministers have announced plans for an independent football regulator to oversee the financial stability of the men’s game in England, with the power to ban clubs from joining breakaway leagues. The regulator will license clubs, requiring them to demonstrate sound financial business models, run tests of strong owners and directors, and give fans a greater say in the running of clubs.
It will also have the power to block clubs joining breakaway leagues, which appears to prevent a repeat of any attempt to create a Super League, such as the one in 2021 that proved so unpopular with supporters.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “Despite the sport’s success both at home and abroad, we know there are real challenges that threaten the sustainability of clubs big and small.”
“These bold new plans will put fans back in the heart of football, protect the rich heritage and traditions of our much-loved clubs and safeguard the beautiful game for generations to come.”
Football Association CEO Mark Bullingham said the FA welcomed the plans, which are set out in a government white paper – a policy document setting out future legislation proposals – to be published on Thursday.
“Our response will highlight an important point made repeatedly by the fan-led review, which recommended that professional sports increase funding of grassroots sports,” he said.
The Football Supporters Association also welcomed the proposals.
FSA chief executive Kevin Miles said: “The football governance white paper clearly addresses our key concerns about ownership, rogue competitions and sustainability and of course we support any proposals that allow fans Provides a greater voice in the running of their clubs.”
But the Premier League warned it was important the regulation did not harm the 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.” may reduce its competitiveness or raise unmatched levels of funding. We provide exposure,” it said in a statement.
West Ham boss David Sullivan described plans for greater regulation as a “terrible idea”, echoing previous concerns expressed by some owners of Premier League clubs.
“The regulator will have a huge staff that football will have to pay for,” he told Sky Sports News. “It would be a total waste of money. I bet it grows in size and cost every year.
“The Premier League is the best-run and most successful league in the world. It gives more to the lower leagues and the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and the grassroots than any other top league in the world. It’s a fantastic export Is.”
The proposals are based on the recommendations of a fan-led review that ministers originally planned in the immediate aftermath of the Super League scandal.
The body’s main aim will be to oversee the licensing system to ensure that clubs can be run in a sustainable manner following the collapse of Bury and Macclesfield in recent years.
But if the Premier League, the EFL (English Football League) and the Football Association are unable to reach a new agreement on how top-level finances support the game at lower levels, it will be able to intervene and force arbitration.
The government is also planning to introduce a new owners and directors test with a focus on the fitness and propriety of new owners and enhanced due diligence.
It is unclear whether there will be a human rights element to the trial during the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle, despite calls for one from Amnesty International.
The issue is again in the spotlight as a result of the Qatari bid for Manchester United.
The government said it would launch further consultations with plans to introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allowed.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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