UK Government intervention could change English football forever

 | April 25, 2022

The British government plans to install an independent regulator to deal with the game's finances and more

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On Monday, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) announced that the British government will establish an independent regulator for English football.

The regulator will be responsible for the game's finances, club ownership, and corporate governance. It will also be backed by primary legislation to provide it with the statutory powers to license and sanction clubs. 

Along with the above responsibilities, the regulator will apply an owners' and directors' test, both ahead of an acquisition of a club but also on an ongoing basis.

The statement specifically says: "This will include a new 'integrity test' for all owners and executives, and enhanced due diligence -- including sources of funding -- upon an acquisition."

This new test will replace the current tests that are administered by the Premier League, English Football League, and the Football Association.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated: "Football brings friends, families, and communities together, which is why we are taking forward the fan-led plans to secure the future of our national game -- from the £230 million ($294m) investment to level up grassroots pitches to strengthening the voice of fans in the running of their clubs."

With the power to exercise financial oversight of clubs, including information gathering, investigation, and enforcement powers, the regulator will have a lot of control over English football. 

The DCMS statement continued: "Further details on the government's preferred option, including on regulatory 'backstop' powers will be set out in the white paper."

The Premier League also issued a statement regarding the case for reform: "We welcome the clarity from the Government about their position, 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."

The statement continued: "We will be introducing a number of measures to improve this area and plan to make a detailed announcement before the start of the 2022-23 season."

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The Author

Ricky Gray

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