- Henry Smith MP has welcomed the announcement from the Government of a radical overhaul of football governance which will give fans a greater say in the running of clubs such as Crawley Town.
- These changes will mean a strong, independent regulator will oversee the top five tiers of men’s football and prevent the repeat of financial failings seen at some of our beloved clubs.
- Football fans and their clubs will be given greater protections under the most radical transformation of the game since the first club was formed more than 165 years ago.
Henry Smith MP has welcomed the news from the Government that for the first time, a new independent regulator for the men’s elite game will be established in law to oversee the financial sustainability of the game and put fans back at the heart of how the game is run.
“We know that Crawley Town plays an important role at the heart of our local community. For too long throughout the country, football fans have not been put first and unscrupulous owners have failed to properly protect our clubs.
“This is why I welcome the announcement from the Government which will see the current system transformed thanks to new regulations. This will give a voice to the fans who have been ignored for far too long.
“I know that many people will take comfort in the knowledge that their beloved club will be protected by the Government’s new regulator.”
The regulator will implement a new licensing system from the Premier League to the National League that will require clubs to demonstrate sound financial business models and good corporate governance as part of an application process before being allowed to compete.
Fans will also have a greater say in the strategic running of their clubs. The Regulator will require clubs to comply with the FA on their new rules for heritage which will give fans a veto over changes to the badge and home shirt colours in addition to the strong existing protections for club names. In addition, clubs will have to seek the approval of the regulator for any sale or relocation of the stadium, with fan engagement a major part of that process.
There will be new tests for owners and directors, ensuring good custodians of clubs, stronger due diligence on sources of wealth and a requirement for robust financial planning.
The regulator will have a targeted power of last resort to intervene in relation to financial distributions, to deliver a solution if football fails to itself. This will ensure greater financial protection for clubs throughout the entire pyramid.
The regulator will have the power to prevent English clubs from joining new competitions which do not meet the predetermined criteria, in consultation with the FA. This will stop any future attempts at closed shop breakaway competitions like the European Super League.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, Lucy Frazer, commented;
“Our plans will end the boom and bust culture of football club finances and prevent the risk that club owners treat historic assets as expendable commodities.
“We want to see the incredible success of the domestic game at home and abroad continue.
“But for too long those responsible for running our national game have failed and our reforms will help strengthen the game.
“With a new independent regulator to check prospective owners, stop unwanted breakaway leagues and protect clubs’ heritage, we are now calling time on mismanagement which has left too many fans facing the loss of the clubs that they love.”