Ministers backed the creation of an independent regulator for English football on Thursday, following the recommendation of a fan-led governance review, but one Premier League executive warned of the dangers of too much meddling.
The wide-ranging exercise, chaired by former sports minister Tracey Crouch, has called for changes to ensure the men’s professional game’s long-term financial sustainability.
Other recommendations include a “golden share” veto power for fan groups on key issues such as clubs attempting to enter breakaway competitions and increased financial support from the Premier League for lower-league clubs via a solidarity transfer levy.
Football in England has reached a “tipping point,” according to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who promised a full response early next year.
“The review’s primary recommendation is clear, and one that the government chooses to endorse in principle today: football requires a strong, independent regulator to secure the future of our national game,” she said in a statement.
“The government will now move quickly to determine the most effective way to deliver an independent regulator, as well as any additional powers that may be required.”
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston was pressed by lawmakers on other aspects of the Crouch review, but he refused to commit “100%” to all of the proposals.
As part of its 2019 election manifesto, the government promised a fan-led review.
That pledge came after the demise of lower-league club Bury, and the decision to bring it forward was influenced by earlier this year’s ill-fated attempts to establish a European Super League.
However, Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow warned of the risk of “killing the golden goose.”
He predicted that the Premier League would be unable to do much more than its current financial commitments to lower-league clubs, which have included significant funding to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Premier League has really always been the source of funding for the rest of football,” he told the BBC. “The danger here is that we over-regulate a highly successful financial and commercial operation and kill the golden goose.”
“I believe we must exercise extreme caution as we consider reform to ensure that it does not ultimately harm the game.” We already have the most successful football league in the world, the English Premier League.”