Regulator for English football given backing by government

LONDON (AP) — The creation of an independent regulator for English football was given initial backing by the government on Thursday in a move intended to safeguard the future of clubs by providing financial oversight and assessing the suitability of potential owners.

The announcement by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries followed the publication of a review of football governance chaired by a former sports minister, Tracey Crouch, who concluded the game could no longer be left to run itself.

The review was commissioned by the government in April following the ill-fated attempt by six leading Premier League clubs to launch a European Super League. The review recommended granting the “golden share” of veto powers to supporters’ groups on key issues such as clubs attempting to enter breakaway competitions, moving stadium or changing club colors.

The review panel also examined the fallout from the collapse of Bury, which was expelled from the Football League after 125 years in 2019 after troubled ownership and financial turmoil.

“We are at a turning point for football in this country,” Dorries said. “The review is a detailed and worthy piece of work that will require a substantive response and plan of action from across government.

“But the primary recommendation of the review is clear, and one the government chooses to endorse in principle today: that football requires a strong, independent regulator to secure the future of our national game. The government will now work at pace to determine the most effective way to deliver an independent regulator, and any powers that might be needed.”

An independent regulator would ensure clubs are run sustainably and for the benefit of their communities through a licensing system, based on the vision of Crouch’s review. The regulator would have responsibility for administering strengthened owners’ and directors’ tests.

“The review demonstrates that there are fundamental issues with our national sport, and that this merits radical reform,” Dorries said. “Fans across the country want and deserve that reform.”

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