The Premier League has released a statement ahead of the publication of a government white paper that will set out plans to introduce an independent regulator to oversee English football.
The Government is set to publish a White Paper – formal plans to be discussed in parliament ahead of the introduction of new legislation – on Thursday, acting upon the 2021 fan-led review which recommended the introduction of an independent regulator to oversee the English game.
The role of the regulator will be to oversee and protect the entire English football pyramid, with the current fragmented system of the Premier League, EFL and FA often causing difficulties due to each organisation’s own self-interests.
Among the powers set to be handed to the regulator will be to oversee a licensing system to ensure clubs are run sustainably following the respective collapses of Macclesfield and Bury, while it would also improve the fit and proper owners test, with a focus on the fitness and propriety of new owners and enhanced due diligence.
The regulator will also hand more power to fans regarding key decisions about their club, such as changes to the stadium, kit, badge, and the competitions they play in.
The fan-led review was brought forward in the wake of the failed European Super League project, and the regulator will have the power to prevent clubs from joining unsanctioned tournaments.
Meanwhile, the regulator will also have a role in trying to better redistribute funds throughout the game, with the EFL currently wanting the Premier League to give 25 per cent of its TV revenues to the lower divisions as part of ‘A New Deal for Football’. The EFL also wants to get rid of the parachute payment system that sees relegated Premier League clubs continue to receive financing from the top flight over a period of three years to ease the financial drop-off. The redistribution of wealth would help to smooth out the big financial gaps between the top tier and the football league, and hopefully stop clubs from getting into financial difficulty, either in a desperate attempt to reach the Premier League, or indeed if they drop out of it.
Speaking ahead of the publication of the White Paper, the Premier League – who have so far been against additional regulation – have said they will ‘carefully consider’ the government plans.
English football prepares for government intervention.
Report @SkyNews on the rage that created the regulator.
Featuring West Brom fans and former FA chairman David Bernstein.
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 22, 2023
“The publication of this White Paper is a significant moment for English football,” a statement reads. “The Premier League and its clubs will now carefully consider the government’s plan for England to become the first major nation to make football a government-regulated industry.
“The Premier League, alongside the rest of English football, is a global success. We fully recognise that the passionate support of millions of football supporters is fundamental to our competition. We are proud that our success has been consistently shared for the benefit of the wider game, and of our clubs, who have a positive impact every day in their local communities.
“The Premier League recognises the case for change in football governance and continues to implement stronger and more independent regulation. We are strengthening our ownership rules and are already providing £1.6bn in financial support to the wider game in this current three-year cycle.
“We appreciate the government’s commitment to protect the Premier League’s continued success. It is vital that regulation does not damage the game fans love to watch in the deepest professional pyramid in the world, or its ability to attract investment and grow interest in our game.
“We will now work constructively with stakeholders to ensure that the proposed government regulator does not lead to any unintended consequences that could affect the Premier League’s position as the most-watched football league in the world, reduce its competitiveness or put the unrivalled levels of funding we provide at risk.
“The Premier League has already taken action to address many issues raised in the Fan-Led Review, and will work with government and parliamentarians on the next phase of the White Paper. We are committed to delivering a football-led solution to address key issues in the game – including financial distributions, financial controls and the football calendar – together with The FA and the EFL.”