The English football association is considering the introduction of a new authority to be able to prevent another damaging crisis from happening. The FA could become independent from Fifa in order for this to happen, which would put an end to years of corruption scandals and poor decision making by the governing body in charge.

English football 'needs independent regulator to stop lurching from crisis to crisis'

Tracey Crouch feels that having a separate regulator would help English football.

The head of a fan-led investigation of English football believes the sport needs an independent regulator to prevent it from “lurching from crisis to crisis.”

Tracey Crouch, a former sports minister, has called on the government to establish a new independent football regulator (IREF).

According to the report, this is important for the men’s professional game’s long-term financial viability.

Crouch told Sport, “This is a fantastic chance for football.”

“Over the last decade, we’ve watched football swing from crisis to crisis, and sadly, we haven’t had the necessary levels of regulation in place to prevent that.”

Sport believes that the concept for an independent regulator will be supported by Downing Street.

Crouch told sports editor Dan Roan that the proposals included removing “vested interests” from football in order for it to “become viable for the long-term future.”

The government-commissioned research also suggests that Premier League teams pay a “solidarity transfer charge” to help fund the football pyramid.

It proposes that teams form a’shadow board’ of fans to ensure that fans are adequately consulted on crucial issues, and that supporters be given a ‘golden share’ to maintain their clubs’ legacy and participation in competitions.

The assessment also suggests that IREF, rather than the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), or the Football Association, conduct new owner and director exams (FA).

Crouch is “very certain” that such restrictions would prevent a resurgence of the unsuccessful European Super League or a similar breakaway league, as well as a team going bankrupt as Bury FC did in 2019.

She said that she is “very hopeful” that the government would embrace the notion of an independent regulator, but that legislation will not be in place before next season’s start date.

She did say, though, that a’shadow regulator’ could be put up ‘immediately’ to create IREF’s guiding principles.

The Premier League has said that it recognizes the need to “repair and maintain” fan confidence in football governance, and that it would consider the proposals before working with the government, fans, FA, and EFL on these concerns.

The EFL expects that the assessment would serve as a “catalyst for constructive change that will help clubs stay afloat.”

“Many beneficial modifications have already been implemented,” according to the FA, with some of them “directly as a consequence” of the evaluation.

The assessment, according to the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), “lays the foundation for a profitable and sustainable future” for English football at all levels.

What is being suggested?

The study presents 47 suggestions, which may be summarized into ten key points:

  • A new independent regulator should be established by the government (IREF)
  • The IREF should be in charge of football’s financial regulation.
  • New owner and director tests should be established by the IREF.
  • A new code of corporate governance should be established.
  • All clubs should have equality, diversity, and inclusion strategies.
  • Through a’shadow board,’ fans should be consulted on all major off-field matters.
  • A ‘golden share’ for supporters should be established to conserve key artifacts of club history.
  • The Premier League should provide greater help to the pyramid by imposing a solidarity transfer charge on Premier League teams when they sign players from abroad or other top-flight clubs.
  • Women’s football should be given its own evaluation and be regarded similarly to men’s football.
  • Stakeholders should work together to improve the protection of players who are leaving the game.

Following the Saudi Arabian-backed acquisition of Newcastle, the Premier League’s owners and directors test has come under fire.

With the Saudi kingdom accused of human rights violations, Amnesty International has pushed the league to amend the exam to address these problems.

Despite the fact that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman chairs the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has an 80% share in Newcastle, the Premier League claimed it had “legally-binding guarantees” that the Saudi state has no direct influence over the club. Western intelligence services suspect the crown prince was involved in the assassination of writer Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018, which he denies.

The study did not clarify whether the new suggested standards will take into account human rights problems, but it did note that owners and directors must be of “good character” to pass.

Crouch said she didn’t know whether the additional measures would have prevented the Newcastle acquisition, but she did say they would have provided “more transparency.”

In December of last year, the Premier League and the EFL agreed to a £250 million rescue plan for EFL clubs in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, before the top flight made another £25 million available to Leagues One and Two, as well as the National League, last week.

The proposed transfer charge, according to the study, would supplement this and act in a similar manner as stamp dutyexternal-link to “distribute funds through the pyramid and into grassroots.”

Crouch said that the Premier League “has an obligation” to distribute more of its income to the public, but that the EFL and the Premier League must agree on a tax percentage.

If they are unable to reach an agreement, she said that IREF would make the decision on their behalf.

What was the purpose of the audit?

Fans protest the European Super League outside Stamford BridgeFollowing the unveiling of the European Super League in April, football supporters staged protests outside stadiums.

Over 100 hours of testimony was heard from supporters representing over 130 teams, the FA, Premier League, EFL, League Managers’ Association, and Professional Footballers’ Association throughout the review.

After Bury were relegated from League One after the failure of a takeover proposal, the government pledged a fan-led review in its 2019 general election platform.

The assessment was prompted by the Covid-19 epidemic, which forced matches to be played behind closed doors, reducing income, as well as the April failure to create a 12-team European Super League.

The recommendations of the study are intended to address concerns about the financial imbalance between the Premier League and the Championship, with teams in the second division breaking profitability and sustainability standards in order to earn promotion.

Reading were fined six points for breaching financial regulations this season, while Derby County were punished nine points for breaking EFL accounting rules, bringing their total penalty this season to 21 points.

The European Super League, which included six Premier League teams, failed in the face of severe criticism from rival clubs and players, as well as regulatory bodies, legislators, and, most importantly, fans.

The ‘golden share’ plan in the study aims to prevent this from happening again by giving supporters a vote in a club’s legacy, including team colors and stadium, as well as banning them from competing in events not connected with Fifa, Uefa, or the FA.

How has the public reacted?

Julian Knight, the head of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, supported the idea for an independent football authority.

He called for “immediate government action” and requested that Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries include a football regulator in the upcoming Queen’s Speech.

“We appreciate the desire for some sort of independent regulation to maintain English football’s key qualities, and the Premier League has already conducted its own governance and strategy evaluations,” the Premier League stated.

“These will continue to evolve in tandem with the fan-led review’s continuing work.

“It is critical for everyone that any adjustments do not jeopardize our game, its competitive balance, or existing investment levels.”

The conclusion of the inquiry that “further distributions” from the top flight are necessary is “pleasant,” according to EFL chairman Rick Parry.

“Achieving financial stability needs to be the number one objective,” he said.

“Reducing volatility and promoting balance among the English leagues will serve as the foundation for change.”

The study is “possibly a big step forward for football governance,” according to Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, and it is now “up to the government to deliver.”

The Manchester United Supporters Trust stated the investigation was a “major blunder” since it “failed to address the core subject of club ownership.” “It should have advised mechanisms to enable fans who want to invest in their team to do so,” the Trust added.

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