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English football to receive an Independent Regulator in ‘historic’ move for fans

An Independent Football Regulator is set to be appointed in England after a Football Governance Bill was introduced in Parliament on Tuesday, 19 March. The bill follows a two-year fan-led review that was led by former Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch, in light of the Super League scandal in 2021.

The new Independent Football Regular (IFR) will be a standalone body, independent of the government and football authorities and its role will be to put football fans back at the heart of the game. Providing the bill is passed through parliament, the IFR's responsibilities will include:

  • Ensuring new owners and directors are subject to “stronger tests” to prevent football clubs from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Having the power to sort out financial distribution between the Premier League and the EFL, if agreements aren't reached.
  • Ensuring all clubs from the National League to the Premier League are licensed to compete in competitions.
  • Instilling new requirements to protect from breakaway competitions, like the Super League, and stadium relocations that fans don't want.
  • Ensuring clubs consult fans on all key off-field decisions.
Independent Football Regulator
A new Independent Football Regulator could have a huge impact on the Premier League – Photo by Icon Sport

New Independent Regulator: A ‘historic' day for fans

Upon introducing the bill to parliament, Rishi Sunak said:

“Football has long been one of our greatest sources of national pride. Up and down the country, it brings people together in celebration or commiseration.

“But for too long some clubs have been abused by unscrupulous owners who get away with financial mismanagement, which at worst can lead to complete collapse – as we saw in the upsetting cases of Bury and Macclesfield Town.

“This bill is a historic moment for football fans – it will make sure their voices are front and centre, prevent a breakaway league, protect the financial sustainability of clubs, and protect the heritage of our clubs big and small.”

Tracey Crouch echoed these sentiments by saying that the new independent regulator means that all football fans can ‘breathe a sigh of relief' and that ‘the next steps towards protecting the long-term sustainability of the pyramid have now been taken'.

The Premier League responds to new Independent Regulator

The Premier League have responded to the news with caution and have expressed their fears that it could have a negative impact on the league's global appeal. Their statement read:

“We agree it is vital that football clubs are sustainable, remain at the heart of their communities and that fans are fundamental to the game. The government has consistently stated that it wishes to support the Premier League's continued global success which generates funding to help sustain the entire football pyramid.

“With our clubs, we have advocated for a proportionate regime that enables us to build on our position as the most widely watched league in the world. Mindful that the future growth of the Premier League is not guaranteed, we remain concerned about any unintended consequences of legislation that could weaken the competitiveness and appeal of English football.”


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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