Premier League’s ownership test faces scrutiny in government’s review

  • ‘Fan-led review’ will examine need for independent regulator
  • Sports minister: ‘We must capitalise on this momentum’

A fan-led review into the governance of football after the collapse of the European Super League plan will look into whether the current owners’ and directors’ test is fit for purpose and if there is a need to introduce an independent football regulator, the government has confirmed.

Described by Boris Johnson as a “root and branch investigation” into the way football is run, the review will also seek to engage with supporters groups across the country following the attempted breakaway by the Premier League’s “big six” clubs. The review, which was part of the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 election, will be chaired by the former sports minister Tracey Crouch and will attempt to “examine the potential for changes to ownership models, governance, [and] how finance flows through the game”.

“Football means so much to so many people in this country and my review will be firmly focused on the fans,” said Crouch. “It will look closely at the issues of governance, ownership and finance and take the necessary steps to retain the game’s integrity, competitiveness and, most importantly, the bond that clubs have with its supporters and the local community.” According to the review’s terms of reference, there will be a particular focus on the owners’ and directors’ test that was introduced by the Premier League in 2016. “While foreign ownership has undoubtedly benefited the development of the game, the review will seek to test whether existing oversight is sufficient to protect the interests of the game,” it added.

One of the options that could be on the table is the “50%+1” German model for club ownership, where fans have to possess a majority stake, or other ways to give fans’ groups a greater say or veto on major decision. The review will also assess existing scrutiny of club finances and administrative reporting and “examine geographical, historical and identity protections for clubs.”

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The sports minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “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. 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.”


Ed Aarons

The GuardianTramp

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