Government Set To Create Independent Regulator For Football

The UK government has put forward the creation of an independent regulator for the game after it was announced a football governance bill will go before parliament in the coming year.


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The news of an Independent Regulator for Football (IREF) was widely welcomed after it was announced as part of the King’s Speech today (Tuesday  7th Nov) as he opened Parliament. 


EFL Chair Rick Parry, said: “We welcome the landmark commitment to the Football Governance Bill in the King’s Speech and look forward to it being considered by Parliament in the period ahead.  


“We have had many months of detailed engagement with DCMS and will continue to play our part in delivering legislation that is both fair and effective.


“This is an opportunity to create a regulator that can help football to address the systemic issues that are facing the game, so that we can avoid clubs getting into financial trouble and the threat of supporters losing their club altogether.


“The football pyramid matters. It is a unique strength of the English game and something that must be protected and nurtured.  


“Therefore, creating an independent regulator that is given that specific mandate is essential, so that clubs throughout the country can be sustainable, competitive and serve their communities long into the future.”


A Department for Culture, Media and Sport Committee report on football governance in June concluded that the Premier League and EFL must urgently come to an agreement on sharing more revenue with clubs down the football pyramid or the Government should bring forward setting up the planned independent regulator to impose a deal on the football authorities.


Culture, Media and Sport Committee Chair, Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, said: “Now the Government is committed to establishing the independent football regulator, it should get on with setting it up in shadow form by the end of the year.


“Today’s announcement should be a clear indication to the footballing authorities negotiating a revenue sharing agreement that they are firmly in added time.


“If they can’t strike a deal to protect clubs throughout the pyramid soon, the new independent regulator should be in place and ready to step in to impose one upon them.”


The Premier League has yet to comment on the news but Fair Game, the organisation which has been campaigning to improve football governance, welcomed the announcement as a “historic moment for football”.


Niall Couper, CEO of Fair Game, said: “Today’s announcement is a historic moment for football and represents a real chance to end the cycle of overspending and mismanagement that has plagued our National Game and threatened the very existence of our clubs.

“There will be intense pressure to weaken the regulator’s remit at a time when proper protection and scrutiny of our National Game is needed more than ever.


“Those tasked with setting up the regulator must resist that pressure and remain laser-focused to deliver a fairer future for football and the culture change the sport desperately needs.


“Reckless spending, disconnect between clubs and their communities, and lip service to equality standards must be consigned to the rubbish bin of history. This transformation can only be achieved if the regulator has the teeth and resources to deliver.”


The Football Supporters Association (FSA), who have worked tirelessly to improve governance standards across football, also welcomed the announcement.


Malcolm Clarke, chair of the FSA, said: “We have argued for many years that an independent regulator was needed to protect our historic football clubs and ensure long term financial stability across the game.


“That now looks set to happen as a regulator will be given powers to intervene at all levels when a bad owner, through incompetence or worse, threatens a club’s very existence.


“There have been far too many clubs in crisis throughout the pyramid and they cannot be allowed to fail – supporters deserve better and this represents a very significant step forward.


“No-one cares more about a club than its supporters, they’ll be there after others are long gone, and supporters should be at the heart of their club’s decision making processes.


“We will continue to work constructively with the Government and football authorities to give supporters a stronger voice and establish an independent regulator with the powers it needs to protect our clubs.” 





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