‘Indications are positive’: Tracey Crouch encouraged by football regulator leaks

  • Former sports minister wrote 2021 review on governance
  • Leaks suggest stronger tests for prospective club owners

Tracey Crouch has said the “indications are positive” that the government will introduce a properly independent regulator for English football, after an apparent leak of key aspects of the legislation.

Sources inside Westminster say final details of the white paper, promised by the government last summer, are still being agreed. But leaks to the Sun suggest a regulator will have the right to grant an operating licence to clubs, prevent teams from joining breakaway leagues and have control over an owners and directors test that will establish where prospective owners have sourced their money.

Crouch, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford, was the author of 2021’s Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, which laid out a blueprint for introducing independent governance, with the hope of making football more sustainable.

The former sports minister said she was encouraged by reports suggesting the main recommendations of her report would become law for the 2024-25 season. “I haven’t seen the details yet of the white paper, but the indications are positive that the government will introduce an independent regulator via legislation with backstop powers on financial redistribution.

“While it may be the case that some recommendations from the fan-led review are not going to be implemented, arguably, the most important ones are. From what I’ve read, it looks like the government has accepted and will act on the fundamental recommendation of introducing an independent regulator underpinned by legislation.”

The Football Supporters’ Association gave a cautious welcome, awaiting more details of the legislation. “Today’s reports indicate that many of our ideas are included in the white paper: stronger tests on potential club owners, more supporter engagement, blocks on breakaway competitions like the European Super League and the establishment of an independent regulator,” said the FSA’s chief executive, Kevin Miles.

“We look forward to seeing the full white paper upon its release and, once again, we will enthusiastically and constructively engage with the consultation process to ensure that the regulator becomes as effective as possible.”

The Sun claimed the regulator would be able to redistribute funds from the top flight to clubs lower down the pyramid if the Premier League and EFL were unable to agree a deal. Talks between the organisations remain inconclusive, with the EFL saying last week it wants to halve the financial gap between the bottom of the Premier League and the top of the Championship.

In addition to these backstop powers, the Sun said a regulator will operate a licensing system designed to ensure clubs are being run sustainably and for the benefit of their supporters and the communities they serve. It will also require teams to enter competitions only approved by the regulator.

Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said he could not comment on “speculation” about the details of the proposals, but said the plan would emerge soon. Officials say this is unlikely to be next week, but soon after.

The spokesman said: “Our ambition remains to drive forward the radical reform needed to ensure football sustainability in the long term. The exact detail of the plan is being finalised and will be published shortly. What we are doing with this white paper, it’s seeking to strike the right balance across the board to ensure that this country continues to have and play host to the best football teams in the world, and also respect the rights of fans and ensure they are at the heart of these plans to tackle the big issues that face the game.”


Sean Ingle, Paul MacInnes and Peter Walker

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Cold comfort: get ready to shiver watching a World Cup you helped to pay for | Barney Ronay
From the Premier League to the Qatar World Cup, football is inextricably linked to the oil industry with implications for all

Barney Ronay

17, Sep, 2022 @7:00 AM

Article image
Premier League CEO says Brexit contributed to record January spending
Richard Masters said post-Brexit visas contributed to the league’s record spend and the system was designed to increase England-qualified players

Ed Aarons

02, Mar, 2023 @5:53 PM

Article image
The Premier League must finally share wealth to save English football | David Conn
The argument for financial reform is at last beyond credible dispute as historic clubs face ruin owing to the Covid-19 crisis

David Conn

25, May, 2020 @8:00 AM

Article image
How Project Big Picture changed the politics of football in one swoop | David Conn
Liverpool’s and Manchester United’s plan has been roundly condemned by the Premier League, but leaves the English game in uncharted territory

David Conn

13, Oct, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
For women’s football being aligned with the men’s game comes at a price | Suzanne Wrack
Super League shambles shows the focus must not be on short-term gain even as search for sustainability goes on

Suzanne Wrack

28, Apr, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Newcastle fans will be consulted over St James’ Park naming rights, insists CEO
‘If we want to do anything to do with the stadium we’ll talk to the supporters,’ promised Darren Eales, who added that the club must be commercially innovative due to FFP

Louise Taylor

12, Oct, 2022 @8:00 PM

Article image
Series of grinding failures that left proud, historic Bury in ruins
The appalling state of Bury’s finances led to the modern and analytical potential buyers pulling abruptly out of the deal

David Conn

27, Aug, 2019 @8:27 PM

Article image
Worried League One and Two clubs agree to transparency at PFA's request
League One and League Two clubs have agreed to open their books to provide evidence of the financial ruin the coronavirus crisis may cause in order to find a breakthrough in the talks with the players’ union over wages

Ben Fisher

21, Apr, 2020 @7:01 PM

Article image
Premier League tells PFA players will have to share in financial pain
The Premier League and EFL have urged the footballers’ union to accept that deferral of wages is not enough as the sport grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic

David Conn

01, Apr, 2020 @8:16 PM

Article image
Supporters Direct lobbies for tougher ‘fit and proper people test’ for owners
Supporters Direct says the FA should introduce a rule requiring owners to comply with ‘basic standards of good stewardship’ or face a range of sanctions from fines to even a ban

David Conn

05, Sep, 2017 @7:59 AM