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“Big six” sabotage of owners’ charter shows need for reform

England’s so-called “big six” clubs have killed off attempts by the Premier League to introduce a new owners charter according to reports published today.

The main domestic protagonists behind last year’s failed breakaway European Super League – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United – have refused to sign up to the charter as it commits them to qualifying for UEFA’s Champions League via current sporting merit.

Currently, the top four placed teams in the Premier League gain entrance to Europe’s largest cup competition. However, UEFA’s expansion and reform of the Champions League will see the introduction of coefficients allowing the historically larger and commercially successful clubs with more European appearances to take a spot in the competition via history rather than current on-field performance.

This could mean a team such as Manchester United finishing 7th or 8th in the division would get a place in European competition ahead of a team finishing 4th or 5th. Supporters across the continent, led by Football Supporters Europe, have opposed the expansion and reform of the Champions League.

Chief executive of the FSA Kevin Miles said today’s reports provided timely further evidence that football cannot be relied upon to regulate itself.

“It’s clear that these clubs have regard for sporting integrity and sporting merit only when it suits their own interests, at home or abroad,” Kevin said.

“They have repeatedly put their own self-interest above the long-term health of not just their own competitions but the country’s footballing pyramid as a whole.

“The case for the introduction of an independent regulator with power to intervene on these issues, as recommended by the Fan-led Review, becomes stronger week by week.”

The Fan-led Review of Football Governance, chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, published recommendations back in November 2021 and proposed radical change to English football, including the establishment of an independent regulatory body.

As well as an independent regulator, the Fan-led Review recommended measures to ensure financial sustainability of the professional game, strengthened owners’ and directors’ tests and a new corporate governance code to support a long-term sustainable future of the game.

“The reports of the big six killing off attempts to reform from within demonstrate all too clearly that it is now up to the Government to deliver upon the recommendations of the Fan-led Review,” Kevin said.

What does the FSA think?

Leagues can’t be relied upon to self-regulate, the Government must include the Fan-Led Review recommendations in its legislative agenda for 2022.

The FSA would encourage supporters and fan groups to contact their MP and ask them to back all of the Fan-led Review’s recommendations as it passes though Parliament.

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