Fan-led Review: Responses to Government announcement
Posted on 26th April 2022
The Government announced on Monday that it would endorse the findings of the Fan-led Review and implement all of its recommendations – including the establishment of an independent regulator.
Here we’ve pulled together how the world of football and politics have responded to the news.
The Government said it is now committed to “fundamental reform” of the game’s governance. No exact timeframe was given for implementation, however a white paper is expected in the summer, meaning legislation could be delayed until 2024.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Football is nothing without its fans and for too long the football authorities have collectively been unable to tackle some of the biggest issues in the game.
“The Government took decisive action to conduct the Fan-led Review and today we have endorsed every one of its ten strategic recommendations and the approach set out by Tracey Crouch.
“We are now committed to fundamental reform, putting football on a more sustainable financial path, strengthening corporate governance of clubs and increasing the influence fans have in the running of the national game.”
Responding to the government’s announcement, Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell MP said: “While Labour fully support football reform and a new statutory regulator, there’s no dressing up that this announcement will come as a massive disappointment to fans across the country.
“After a government review and many previous promises to legislate, today’s announcement of a further consultation later this year, and a delay to legislation until at least 2024 is a kick in the teeth to proud footballing communities across England.
“Bury has already collapsed. Derby County is on the brink and has now been relegated. Oldham is out of the football league for the first time in its history. Every club that goes under in the minimum two years delay to football regulation will rest on the Government’s shoulders.”
APPG for Football Supporters
In the Commons, members of the APPG for Football Supporters spoke in support of the Fan-led Review’s aims and called for the Government to move quickly.
APPG chair Gateshead MP Ian Mearns said: “We welcome the announcement of an independent regulator, but the list of failures, points deductions and relegations grows.
“When we say ‘act now’, we mean: bring forward a Bill that can be discussed in Parliament in the next Session. The review included significant consultation, so why delay any further? Such a delay has the potential to allow more horses to bolt and again it might be too late to close stable doors.”
“Does the Minister agree that the Premier League, the EFL and the FA need to read the room and crack on pretty quickly?” – Conservative MP and APPG member Justin Tomlinson
In total 14 members of the FSA’s APPG spoke in this week’s debate in the House of Commons and we thank them for their contributions.
The EFL welcomed the news and re-affirmed its support for an independent regulator and welcomed the Government’s announcement.
EFL chair Rick Parry said: “During our discussions, we have also made it clear that the EFL would support the introduction of an independent statutory-backed regulator, if it provided the means by which we can deliver a reset of the game’s finances.
“Our shared priority remains to safeguard our football pyramid in the interests of football supporters and clubs throughout the country and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the reforms required are achieved as quickly as possible.”
Since Monday’s announcement the FA has not yet issued any official statement on the Government’s plan for an independent regulator. It has, however, welcomed their intention to conduct a separate review into the governance of the women’s game – you can read more on that here.
A predictable note of discord came from the Premier League who, in a statement on their website attributed to no senior figure or executive at the organisation, said they would not accept an independent regulator.
“We welcome the clarity from the Government about their position,” they said. “And are committed to working with them during this next phase of consultation, although we will continue to maintain that it is not necessary for there to be a statutory-backed regulator.”