Review calls for an independent regulator

English football needs an independent regulator to prevent it from “moving from crisis to crisis,” says the president of a fan-led review of the sport.

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch has asked the government to create a new independent English football regulator (IREF).

The review says this is necessary for the long-term financial stability of the men’s professional game.

“This is a great opportunity for football,” Crouch told BBC Sport.

“We have seen football go from one crisis to another over the last decade and, unfortunately, we have not had the right levels of regulation to prevent that from happening.”

Speaking to BBC sports editor Dan Roan, he added that the recommendations were to eliminate “vested interests” in football to ensure that it can “become sustainable for the long-term future.”

The review, which was commissioned by the government, also recommends that Premier League clubs pay a “solidarity transfer fee” to further support the football pyramid.

It suggests that clubs should have a ‘shadow board’ of fans to be properly consulted on key decisions and that fans have a ‘golden share’ to protect their clubs’ heritage and the competitions in which they play .

The review also proposes testing of new owners and directors and that these be conducted by the IREF rather than the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Football Association (FA).

Crouch said she is “absolutely certain” that such measures would halt any resurgence of the Failed European Super League or similar breakaway competition and would prevent a club from going bankrupt in the way Bury FC did it in 2019.

He added that he is “extremely optimistic” that the government will support the idea of ​​an independent regulator, but said the legislation will not be in effect by the start of next season.

However, he said a “shadow regulator” could be established “immediately” to establish the guiding principles of the IREF.

The Premier League said it recognizes the need to “restore and retain” fan confidence in the governance of football and will study the recommendations before working with the government, fans, the FA and the EFL on these issues.

The EFL said it hopes the review will be a “catalyst for positive change that can make clubs sustainable.”

The FA said that “many positive changes have already been made,” some of which were “directly as a result” of the review.

The Football Fans Association (FSA) said the review “lays the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable future” for English football at all levels.

What is recommended?

The report makes 47 recommendations, which are summarized in 10 main points:

  • The government should create a new independent regulator (IREF)
  • The IREF should oversee financial regulation in football
  • The IREF should establish tests of new owners and directors
  • A new corporate governance code should be established
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion plans should be mandatory for all clubs
  • Supporters should be consulted on all key decisions off the field through a ‘parallel board’
  • Key elements of the club’s heritage must be protected by a ‘golden share’ for fans
  • There should be more support from the Premier League to the pyramid through a solidarity transfer fee, paid by Premier League clubs when purchasing players from abroad or from other top-tier clubs.
  • Women’s football should be treated the same and receive its own review
  • Stakeholders should work to increase the protection of the well-being of players who leave the game.

The Premier League owners and managers test has come under scrutiny recently following the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle.

International Amnesty has urged the league to change the test to address human rights issues, with the Saudi state accused of human rights abuses.

The Premier League said it has “legally binding guarantees” that the Saudi state has no direct control over Newcastle, despite the fact that the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has an 80% stake, is chaired by the crown prince. Mohammed Bin Salman. Western intelligence agencies believe the crown prince approved the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which he denies.

The review did not indicate whether human rights issues would be considered in the proposed new tests, but did say that owners and directors must have “good character” to pass.

Crouch said he did not know whether the new tests would have blocked the Newcastle acquisition, but added that they would have ensured “greater transparency.”

The Premier League and the EFL agreed a £ 250 million rescue package for EFL clubs in light of the Covid-19 pandemic in December last year, before the top flight another £ 25m available Leagues One and Two and the National League last week.

The review says that the proposed transfer fee will add to that and work similar to bell dutyExternal link in order to “distribute income through the pyramid and among the bases.”

Crouch said the Premier League “has a duty” to transfer more of its wealth, but that both it and the EFL must make a decision on what the percentage of the fee should be.

If they cannot agree, he said that IREF will make the decision on his behalf.

Why was the review carried out?

Soccer fans protested outside stadiums following the announcement of the European Super League in April.

The review heard over 100 hours of evidence from fans representing more than 130 clubs, the FA, Premier League, EFL, League Managers ‘Association, and Professional Footballers’ Association.

The government promised a fan-led review in its 2019 general election manifesto after Bury was ousted from League One following the collapse of a takeover bid.

The review was advanced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused matches to take place behind closed doors, affecting revenue, and the failed attempt to launch a 12-team European Super League in April.

The review’s recommendations seek to address concerns about the financial disparity between the Premier League and the Championship, with clubs in the second tier breaking profitability and sustainability rules in an attempt to gain promotion.

This has been evident this season with The reading deducted six points for breaking the financial rules and Derby County scored nine more points for violations of EFL accounting rules, bringing his overall deductions this season to 21 points.

The European Super League, which involved six Premier League clubs, collapsed amid widespread condemnation from other clubs and players, as well as governing bodies, politicians and especially fans.

The ‘golden action’ revision proposal seeks to prevent this from being re-attempted by giving fans a voice about a club’s heritage, including team colors and their stadium, as well as preventing them from playing. in competitions not affiliated with FIFA, Uefa or the FA. .

What has been the reaction?

The Chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Julian Knight, said he welcomed the proposal for an independent soccer regulator.

He said there must be “urgent government action” and asked Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to present a soccer regulator at the queen’s next speech.

The Premier League said: “We recognize the call for some form of independent regulation to protect the essential strengths of English football and the Premier League has already conducted our own governance and strategic reviews.”

“These will continue to progress alongside the ongoing work on the fan-led review.”

EFL President Rick Parry said it is “nice” to see the review conclude that “additional distributions” of the highest category are required.

He added: “Achieving financial stability has to be the number one priority.

“Reducing volatility and promoting balance in all English leagues will provide the foundation on which reforms can be built.”

FSA Executive Director Kevin Miles said the review is “potentially a big step forward for the governance of football” and that it is “now up to the government.”

Reference-www.bbc.co.uk

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