• If you're referencing a news story in your post, it's better form to paste a link to the story rather than copying and pasting the whole story into your PROC post. It's fairer to the entity that produced the content that they get the click on their website. Nice one.

The English Football Governance Thread

Looks like this review has a lot of positive proposals. As ever, you'd expect there'll be watering down and horse-trading by the time anything solid happens - but at the very least the fact that such discussions are happening is positive.

Tracey Crouch looks have a bit of integrity, for a Tory. She was behind the review of fixed-odds betting terminals and resigned as Sports minister in protest when the government dragged their heels on it.

Tracey Crouch review: Premier League teams face 10 per cent transfer tax

Government back plan for football regulator with power to veto new owners and seize control of clubs

Premier League clubs should pay about £160 million a year in the form of a 10 per cent levy on top-flight transfers, a fan-led review into English football governance has recommended.

The 162-page report, written by Tracey Crouch MP with the assistance of an expert panel, calls for the formation of an independent regulator for English football with powers that would extend to seizing control of a club from their owner. The government will give its public support to the formation of a regulator, which would also introduce a single owners’ and directors’ test that would have placed the controversial takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund under far greater scrutiny.

Included within the new owners’ and directors’ test would be what the report terms an integrity test. Crouch told The Times: “I don’t know all the details of the [Newcastle] takeover but the integrity test would certainly have stressed it a bit more than what happened. The character aspects and relationship aspect of the integrity test, which is what is relevant in the security services, for example, is something that I don’t think exists within the current test.”

The transfer levy, designed to distribute more cash to lower-league clubs and the grassroots of the game at a time when the Premier League has secured a £2 billion American broadcast rights deal, is likely to be met with resistance by top-flight clubs.

But Crouch is confident that any attempt to block the formation of the regulator, either by the Premier League or the Football Association, will fail.

“They can stick their fingers up but there would be a parliamentary process that sees legislation enact an independent regulator,” she said. Crouch predicted that the regulator would be fully operational by the start of the 2023-24 season.

The review panel was formed in the wake of the thwarted attempt by the Premier League’s “big six” clubs to join a European Super League. It included the Everton chief executive, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, the former England manager Roy Hodgson and the former Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Clarke Carlisle. Together they listened to more than 100 hours of evidence from fans’ groups as well as key stakeholders. Among the key recommendations are:

● The formation of the new regulator.

● The introduction of the 10 per cent “solidarity levy” on all Premier League transfers from abroad and from other top-flight clubs.

● A review of the Premier League parachute payments system, which gives a huge financial advantage to teams relegated to the Championship.

● A new owners’ and directors’ test to provide greater protection to clubs.

● The creation of a “shadow board” for supporters at every club.

● Granting fans’ groups a “golden share” allowing them power of veto over club “heritage” issues, such as joining new competitions, moving stadium, changing club colours or crests.

● Introducing standard promotion and relegation clauses into player contracts to help clubs’ finances.

● A government review of how agents are regulated.

● A review of the laws on alcohol consumption at grounds, with a pilot scheme proposed for the National League.

● Improving equality, diversity and inclusion at clubs.

● Commissioning a separate report into the women’s game to ensure greater parity with the men’s game.

● A review of the welfare for players exiting the game, particularly from academies.

If the majority of the recommendations are adopted, the publication of the report will be remembered as a seismic day for the way football is run, but several potential measures are likely to face opposition from clubs.

These are the details of the most significant proposals:

The 10 per cent transfer levy
The attempt to take money from Premier League transfers to redistribute down the pyramid is certain to be a battleground. Top-flight sources were privately pointing out that such a levy already exists: it is set at 4 per cent, with the money distributed between a player pension fund and the Premier League and EFL academies.

Further to that, the clubs point out, is the proposal for an additional 6 per cent levy from Fifa. Add the new levy of 10 per cent, and a £20 million transfer costs a buying club £24 million, which the clubs will argue could affect their ability to remain competitive in the market with their European rivals.

The report argues: “If a 10 per cent levy had been applied in the last five seasons, an estimated £160 million per year could have been raised for redistribution. This would be a relatively modest cost to Premier League clubs, but annually could be game-changing to the rest of the football pyramid.”

While one year’s money could provide “a grant to ensure that League One and League Two clubs break even”, it could also provide “80 adult 3G pitches, 100 adult grass pitches, 100 children’s/small sided grass pitches and 30 two-team changing rooms”.

The independent regulator
The regulator’s board would be appointed by experts independent of the government and supported by a staff of experts in various fields. The call for a regulator is a devastating judgment on the FA, which the report says is old-fashioned, unwieldy and not a reflection of modern football fans.

The FA may get observer status on the board, which would be accountable to parliament and the digital, culture, media and sport select committee.

The cost of creating such a body, the report suggests, should be covered mainly by the Premier League, and it will have “strong investigatory powers”.

“If a club is found to have breached its obligations, sanctions will be needed,” the report says. Sanctions could include fines, points deductions, transfer bans and potential bans from football for owners and directors.

“At the most extreme, owners could be forced to pass stewardship/control of decisions to an regulator-appointed administrator,” the review states.

Owners’ and directors’ test
Motivated principally by the demise of Bury, the review seeks to protect clubs by introducing a more stringent test for owners and directors, replacing the tests operated separately by the Premier League, EFL and FA.

Prospective new owners should be required to submit a business plan, provide a financial history and undergo an integrity test. Further to that, the review also recommends “enhanced due diligence checks on source of funds to be developed with the Home Office and National Crime Agency”.

Golden share
The report recommends the foundation of a community benefit scheme for supporters, with a “golden share” that will protect key aspects of a club’s heritage.

Under the “golden share”, owners will require the consent of fans before selling the club’s stadium, relocating the club outside of the local area, joining a new competition such as a European Super League and changing the club’s name, badge or home shirt colours.

The FA and Premier League issued statements saying they welcomed the review but would need time to study its contents. The Football Supporters’ Association said the recommendations “represent a massive step forward”.

Crouch said: “What’s really important is this is not an à la carte menu. This has to be done holistically. This is a whole package of reforms.”

Crouch said change would begin with the formation of a “shadow regulator” in the new year. “That means it can start soon,” she said. “And then I would suspect that we could get this fully operational by 2023.”

Donald Trump

Full Member
All sounds great, but the fit and proper person’s test is a bit late.

Still, an independent regulator is well overdue. The FA are almost useless, with no real power.

Hopefully they’ll be able to stop any future ESL type nonsense too.
Yep. To a large degree the horse has bolted on a few fronts.

But if she can get a critical mass of these changes through then it will help to some degree, certainly for the lower rungs of the football ladder.

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