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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Britain to consider independent regulator for football

Britain to consider independent regulator for football

The creation of an independent regulator is on the agenda for a British government review of football which will also look into whether the much criticised Owner's and Director's Test is fit for purpose.
The review, which will be led by Member of Parliament and former sports minister Tracy Crouch, has been brought forward following the uproar over six leading English clubs joining a failed attempt to create a breakaway Super League with top Italian and Spanish clubs.

The government released the terms of reference on Thursday which are focused on the "potential for changes to ownership models, governance, how finance flows through the game and how to give supporters a greater say in the running of the game".

The British government played a key role in pressurising the six English clubs to withdraw from the breakaway fronted by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, after widespread and intense fan opposition.

"Football begins and ends with fans and we have seen that passionately displayed this week. It must be a watershed moment in our national game," said sports minister Nigel Huddleston.

"We must capitalise on this momentum. Clubs are the beating heart of their local communities and this important review will help put football on a surer footing for the future where supporters voices are heard.”

The review, which the government says is "fan led" will make final recommendations on what steps can and should be taken, and how they should be implemented which could include legislation.

There have been increasing calls for an independent regulator following the row over Project Big Picture, an attempt by the "Big Six" in the Premier League to gain greater control over the game and this week's Super League proposal.

The government said Crouch "will assess the need for an independent football regulator, charged with implementing regulation and compliance, and how that might work within the existing framework provided by the Football Association, Premier League and English Football League".

It will also look at the merit of different ownership models, including the 50+1 system in Germany which ensures majority ownership for club members or fans rather than private investors.

The financial problems facing several lower division clubs, including the collapse of one of England's oldest clubs Bury in 2019, have raised questions about whether the Owners and Directors Test is effective at keeping unsuitable investors out of the game.

The game's financial arrangements, including parachute payments for relegated teams, solidarity money and broadcasting revenue will be assessed along with ways of protecting club identities, stopping them moving location and changing their crests against the wishes of fans.

Of the 12 European clubs that looked to form a closed European competition, six were from England's Premier League -- Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
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