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Fan-led Review: Crouch targets next Queen’s Speech for implementation

The chair of the Fan-led Review has targeted the next Queen’s Speech for the implementation of her report’s recommendations – and says she would be disappointed if it wasn’t delivered in that time frame.

Speaking at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee today, Tracey Crouch MP said: “The Government supports the main recommendation of independent regulation and I would be disappointed if it wasn’t in the next Queen’s speech.”

The next Queen’s speech would be due in the spring of 2022 at the state opening of the next Parliament – Crouch told MPs that the establishment of an independent regulator of English football could be initiated by legislation promised in that speech.

A start-up budget, Crouch estimated, for the regulator would be between £5m-10m which would be provided initially by the Government before it’s year-to-year funding was paid from a percentage of the game’s broadcast revenues.

“This is not an à la carte menu,” Crouch told MPs. “This is a holistic package that provides a long-term sustainable future and one that protects English football.”

Confidence 

MPs asked Crouch whether her recommendations for external regulation of the game would “kill the golden goose” of Premier League broadcast revenues or jeopardise its position as one of the biggest leagues in the world.

“I don’t see it killing the golden goose, I see it as the opposite” Crouch replied. “The whole point of what we’re setting out is about enabling confidence in the system.

“The system is subject to vulnerabilities. Removing those encourages growth and investment.

“This is about giving confidence to everyone throughout the pyramid – knowing that you’re  investing in a pyramid that is well governerned with rules that apply to everyone. That is a really attractive proposition.”

The committee session also asked whether or not football’s regime of self-regulation is better-suited to running the game compared to a new unproven regulator established by legislation.

“That horse has already bolted,” Crouch replied. “We’ve given football enough chances, they haven’t proven themselves.

“This is an opportunity to grasp reform and to put the whole pyramid on a footing that delivers long term sustainability.”

Push back

Reports from the Premier League shareholders meeting last Friday indicate there will be significant opposition from executives at many of the country’s biggest clubs. 

A few have already spoken out publicly against the recommendations in Crouch’s report – last week Leeds United’s Angus Kinnear went as far as comparing them to Maoist collectivisation.

“All of our main recommendations are things that football could start straight away,” Crouch said. “A transfer levy could be introduced tomorrow by the Premier League.

“It doesn’t need the independent regulator to do a lot of this stuff. They could change their rules tomorrow and not have government intervention. The transfer levy idea was actually proposed by a Premier League club.

“They’re just not doing it. An independent regulator is needed to make them do it.”

Crouch told MPs that she expects aggressive lobbying from the Premier League against the Fan-led Review’s main recommendations. 

“I think they will push back very, very hard on the statutory aspect of the independent regulator, arguing instead for a regulatory unit within the FA,” said Crouch.

“But the way this would be setup, would be to remove vested interests and guarantee transparency.

“We want to help clubs in real time rather than letting a club reach crisis point.”

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