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Southend United supporters want owner Ron Martin out (© Alamy)

Government pushes on with commitment to football regulator

The Government has today (Thursday 7th September) published its response to the consultation on the Football Governance White Paper. 

The Football Supporters’ Association was consulted alongside football clubs, the FA, leagues, football-related organisations and other experts.

The response makes clear the Government is sticking by its commitment to an indepedent regulator in the game – the case for reform is strong and legislation will be brought forward “when Parliamentary time allows”. 

The document, titled A Sustainable Future – Reforming Club Football Governance, says that “football has failed to adequately resolve these issues itself, which is why statutory regulatory intervention is required”.

A commitment to legislation is expected in November’s King’s Speech.

The promise of a football regulator remains and it will be independent of government with a tight focus on financial sustainability as this is where “there is clear evidence of market failure”. 

Despite football having more money than ever before, too many clubs are still in severe financial difficulties. A regulator will have powers to intervene before things get to that stage.

There’s an acknowledgement that “fans are the most important stakeholder for any club” and must be engaged on cultural heritage issues – examples would be stadium moves and home shirt colour changes.

Sports minister Stuart Andrew MP said: “Our proposals will see the introduction of a new independent regulator for English football clubs, with the primary strategic purpose of ensuring that English football is sustainable and resilient, for the benefits of fans and the local communities they serve.

“This will help to protect our national game.”

FSA response

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSA, said: “Football has more money than ever before, yet we still see professional clubs teetering on the edge of existence.

“We’ve made the case for an independent regulator for many years and today’s Government response makes clear, once again, that they recognise the need for one too.

“We expect to see a further commitment to that in November’s King’s Speech which can ultimately deliver a regulator to protect our clubs and their heritage while improving supporter engagement.”

All-Party Parliamentary for Football Supporters (APPG)

Chair of the APPG for Football Supporters, Ian Mearns MP, said: “The Football Governance White Paper’s recommendation to implement an independent regulator is fully supported by our APPG and we look forward to seeing its inclusion in November’s King Speech.

“We’ll continue to back the FSA in making that happen.”

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