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Fan-led Review: FSA urges Government to move fast and legislate

Football Supporters’ Association response to the Government’s latest fan-led review announcement:

The Government has acknowledged that “the free market will not fix football” – the FSA urges it to move fast and implement the fan-led review recommendations now.

The introduction of an independent regulator is long overdue and we welcome the announcement that “IREF” should oversee financial regulation at all levels and establish a new, strengthened owners’ and directors’ test. We will look at further details very closely.

Fans have long argued that clubs are vital community assets with stadiums and heritages that deserve special protections – and the Government backs that position while acknowledging that supporter engagement by clubs “often falls far short of what fans rightfully expect”.

The announcement that “women’s football should be treated with parity and given its own dedicated review” is an important step, and one the FSA has long supported, as is the goal to give IREF a role in assessing football’s equality, diversity and inclusion action plans.

But time is of the essence – as the Government says there are “serious concerns around the fragility of football finances”. There’s no time to dwell on the ball.

Since the Government committed to a fan-led review of football governance in its 2019 manifesto we have seen: Macclesfield Town disappear, “Project Big Picture”, the European Super League, ownership controversy at many clubs, billionaire owners sabotage Premier League reform and existential crises at Coventry United, Derby County and Oldham Athletic, amongst others.

Each day drafting White Papers is another day when a club might cease to exist. Another day for a dodgy owner to get their hooks into a club. Another day for remote billionaires to try and create European Super League 2.0.

The FSA urges the Government to move fast and legislate now.

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