Fans protest against the European Super League in front of Stamford Bridge
After the announcement of the European Super League in April 2021, football fans protested outside stadiums

The British government will set up an independent football regulator when the Football Governance Bill is tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

The law will give a body independent of the government and football authorities the power to oversee clubs in England’s top five divisions.

Following a fan-led review in 2022, the government announced plans to appoint a regulator in February 2023.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was “a historic moment for football fans”.

“This ensures that their voices are centered,” he added. “Football has long been one of our greatest sources of national pride.

“But some clubs have for too long been abused by unscrupulous owners who have gotten away with financial mismanagement, which in the worst case scenario can lead to complete collapse – as we have seen in the shocking cases of Bury and Macclesfield Town.”

The legislation follows a Fan-driven review, It said a regulator was needed for the long-term financial stability of men’s professional football after problems including financial mismanagement and plans for a breakaway European Super League.

Everton And Nottingham Forest Both had points deducted this season for breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

The regulator’s powers are focused on three key objectives: improving the financial sustainability of clubs, ensuring the financial resilience of all leagues and protecting the heritage of English football.

Rick Parry, chairman of the English Football League (EFL), said: “If implemented on the right terms, this ground-breaking legislation can help repair football’s broken financial model by providing the independent input that is ultimately required “To ensure that all clubs can survive and thrive in a fair and competitive environment.”

A statement from the Premier League said: “Together with our clubs, we have advocated for a proportionate arrangement that will allow us to build on our position as the most watched league in the world.”

“Acknowledging that the future growth of the Premier League is not guaranteed, we remain concerned about the unintended consequences of the legislation, which could weaken the competitiveness and attractiveness of English football.”

“The Premier League remains committed to delivering its world-leading funding for all of football by distributing £1.6 billion to all levels of the game over the current three-year term.”

What powers will the regulator have?

New club owners and directors will have to undergo stricter testing to avoid driving clubs out of business, as was the case with Bury and Macclesfield, and a licensing system has been proposed that would cover clubs from the National League to the Premier League covers.

As part of their license, clubs are obliged to consult their fans on important off-field decisions, such as club tradition and the club’s strategic direction.

“Football is nothing without its fans,” said Culture Minister Lucy Frazer. “We are determined to put them back at the heart of the game and ensure clubs continue to thrive as important community assets.”

“The new regulator will put football on a sustainable footing and strengthen clubs and the entire football pyramid for generations.”

The bill also includes new backstop powers for financial distributions between the Premier League and EFL, allowing the two parties to continue doing so cannot agree on a “new deal”, The regulator can ensure that an agreement is reached.

The government has long warned football authorities that an independent football regulator (IFR) would have such powers of intervention.

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch, who led the fan-led review, said: “Football fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the next steps to protect the long-term sustainability of the pyramid have now been taken.”

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, added: “The FSA warmly welcomes the submission of the Football Governance Bill arising from the 2021 fan-led review and in particular its key proposal to introduce statutory independent regulation of the game. “

“The regulator must be given the power to enforce financial regulation in the interests of the sustainability of football as a whole. This is far too important to be left to the conflict between the self-interests of the richest club owners.”

However, campaign group Fair Game said that “at first glance” it appeared the bill had “missed the mark” and that they “lacked assurances that the regulator will have the power to intervene”.

West Ham owner David Sullivan told Sky Sports: “The Premier League is the best league in the world. So why change a winning formula?”

“I hope the government doesn’t destroy something that works. If the Premier League is no longer the best league in the world in the coming seasons, it will be because of government intervention.”

He added: “There is almost £2bn of debt between the 20 clubs, so there isn’t really any ‘available money’ to give away.”


August 2019: Bury are Expelled from the first league after the failure of a takeover bid.

December 2019: In response to Bury’s death, the Conservatives promised a fan-led review in their 2019 election manifesto.

Season 2020-21: The Covid-19 pandemic is causing games to take place behind closed doors, which is having a negative impact on revenue.

April 2021: A proposed European Super League involving six Premier League clubs collapses within a few days amid widespread condemnation from other clubs and players as well as governing bodies, politicians and fans.

October 2021: Amnesty International pushes for change following the Saudi-backed takeover of Newcastle United on the test of Premier League owners and directors to “address human rights issues”.

November 2021: This also includes an independent regulatory authority 10 recommendations drawn up by a fan-led review chaired by former sports minister Tracey Crouch to improve football governance.

March 2022: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is sanctioned by the British government in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with Abramovich Sale of the club to American businessman Todd Boehly in May.

November 2022: Representatives from 29 clubs Write to the government called on it to press ahead with plans for an independent football regulator.

February 2023: The publication of the British government’s white paper proposing reforms to football was postponed until later in the month.

February 2023: The plan for a new independent regulator in English football was confirmed by the government.

November 2023: King Charles outlined the Government’s plan for the Football Governance Bill in the king’s speech.

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