Ex-Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has called on the government to set up an independent regulator for English football (IREF) to prevent it from “spinning from crisis to crisis”.
Crouch, who has been a sitting MP since 2010 and served as Sports Minister from 2017 to 2018, is leading a fan-led review of football that has concluded that an independent regulator is crucial to maintaining the financial stability of men’s professional games in this country. .
In recent years, clubs such as Bury and Macclesfield have gone bankrupt, while countless others have suffered financial difficulties. The owners and directors of the Premier League were scrutinized during the takeover of Newcastle by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, while the European Super League threatened the very structure of English football in April.
“This is a huge opportunity for football,” Crouch told BBC Sport. “We have seen football meander from crisis to crisis over the last decade and unfortunately we have not had the right levels of regulation in place to stop that from happening.”
The report from the fan-led review has made 47 recommendations in total, including new owners and board tests, more financial support from the Premier League to the football pyramid below, equal treatment for women’s football and supporter consultation.
The Premier League has said they “welcome” the review.
“We recognize the crucial importance of the fans and the need to restore and maintain their confidence in the management of football,” read a statement.
“We also recognize the need for some form of independent regulation to protect the essential strengths of English football and the Premier League has already conducted our own governance and strategic reviews. These will continue to evolve along with the ongoing work on the Fan Led Review.”
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