HomeFootball NewsIndependent Regulator edges closer as Bill introduced in parliament

Independent Regulator edges closer as Bill introduced in parliament

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A Football Governance Bill will be introduced in parliament today that will enable the government to push through plans for an independent regulator for the game in England.

The idea is a regulator will be appointed to oversee the top five leagues in the English pyramid and will be independent of government and existing football authorities.

The bill has the support of all the major parties and is expected to be made law in due course.

The need for a regulator is due to issues at the top and bottom of the game. Clubs at the lower end of the pyramid face continued financial struggles while, at the top, there remains the threat of a breakaway Super League and accusations of self-interest.

The regulator will oversee all matters and work to three core objectives: improving financial sustainability of clubs, ensuring financial resilience across the leagues and safeguarding English football’s heritage.

While it has been welcomed by the Football Association and the EFL, the Premier League remain sceptical, arguing they should have a greater say given their status and revenues.

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 world.

“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.”

The Football Supporters Association has warmly welcomed the Bill, with its chief executive Kevin Miles saying: “We welcome the proposal to introduce an independent regulator – it’s something the FSA and our supporters’ groups have argued in favour of for many, many years.

“It is now 1,066 days since greedy owners tried to form the breakaway European Super League which highlighted the need for an independent regulator to rein in the biggest clubs.

“There’s been nothing since then to suggest that the Premier League is able to regulate itself while its clubs have had years to agree a financial settlement which works for the entire game. They’ve repeatedly failed to reach an agreement.

“We’ll look at the Bill in great detail in the coming days and work with supportive MPs and Peers if amendments are needed to strengthen legislation.

“That work starts this evening with a cross-party meeting organised by the FSA in Parliament which will be attended by many MPs including the sports minister.

“The FSA warmly welcomes the tabling – at last! – 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 provides a means to intervene and stop clubs being run into the ground, protect the heritage of clubs, give supporters a much bigger voice in the running of the game, and prevent any chance of domestic clubs joining a breakaway European Super League.

“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’s far too important to be left to the squabbling between the vested interests of the richest club owners.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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