English football ‘needs independent regulator to stop lurching from crisis to crisis’

Tracey Crouch believes independent regulator will strengthen English football

English football needs an independent regulator to stop it “lurching from crisis to crisis”, says the chair of a fan-led review into the sport.

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch is calling on the government to create a new independent regulator for English football (IREF).

The review says this is necessary for the long-term financial stability of the men’s professional game.

“This is a huge opportunity for football,” Crouch told BBC Sport.

“We’ve seen football lurching from crisis to crisis over the past decade and unfortunately we haven’t had the right levels of regulation in place to stop that from happening.”

BBC Sport understands that Downing Street will support the plan for an independent regulator.

Speaking to BBC sports editor Dan Roan, Crouch added that the recommendations were to remove “vested interests” from football to ensure it can “become sustainable for the long-term future”.

The review, which was commissioned by the government, also recommends Premier League clubs paying a “solidarity transfer levy” to further support the football pyramid.

It suggests clubs should have a ‘shadow board’ of fans so they are properly consulted on key decisions and that supporters hold a ‘golden share’ to protect their clubs’ heritage and which competitions they play in.

The review also proposes new owners’ and directors’ tests and that these are carried out by IREF instead of the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and the Football Association (FA).

Crouch said she is “absolutely confident” that such measures would stop any revival of the failed European Super League or a similar breakaway competition and would prevent a club going bust in the manner Bury FC did in 2019.

She added she is “extremely optimistic” the government will support the idea of an independent regulator but said legislation will not be in place by the start of next season.

However, she said a ‘shadow regulator’ could be set up ‘straight away’ to establish the guiding principles for IREF.

The Premier League said it recognises the need to “restore and retain” the trust of fans in football governance and that it will…

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