Fan-led review says football needs independent regulator to reset relationship with supporters

·3-min read

An independent regulator is the only way English football can reset its relationship with fans, according to a major new review into the game.

Premier League clubs would also be expected to cascade more money down the football pyramid under the proposals, with the idea of a financial levy on transfers included in the long-awaited Fan Led Review.

Review author and former sports minister Tracey Crouch told Sky News: "It's actually something fans have been crying out for, for a really long time.

"They want a regulator or an authority to be able to take some of the complex issues in football, look at them without the vested interests that currently rule football, govern football and have better outcomes for their football clubs.

"I am confident that if the package of measures that I recommend were in place now, Derby wouldn't be in the situation that it's in. I'm confident that with this package of measures, Bury would still exist."

Bury FC collapsed in the 2018/19 season after becoming the latest club to find itself in a financial mess due to poor ownership decisions.

Derby County have been docked a total of 21 points in the Championship this season after falling into administration and financial mis-management.

Derby fan Pav Samra told Sky News: "It feels like you are in a fight with a heavyweight boxer and you just keep getting back up for more."

He added: "Something needs to change across the board in football to make sure it doesn't keep happening."

The Fan Led Review includes 47 proposals to put supporters back at the heart of decision-making in the game while also shaking up how the game is run.

Another proposal is a trial to allow fans to drink alcohol in the stands in League Two and National League football.

While creating additional revenue for clubs still recovering from the pandemic, the move has previously been branded "foolish" by the police.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the national lead for football policing, said: "At a time when we are seeing worrying instances of violence at football at all levels, the timing of this proposal seems quite bizarre and if it were to lead to changes in the current legislative approach it would be an irresponsible act that would lead to more violence in our stadiums."

The Premier League welcomed the Fan Led Review, but added: "It is important to everyone that any reforms do not damage our game, its competitive balance or the levels of current investment.

The group Saving The Beautiful Game, led by former FA and Manchester City chairman David Bernstein and ex-England defender Gary Neville, said a regulator was exactly what the game needed.

In a statement, the group said: "The burden of maintaining the momentum for an independent regulator for English football now falls clearly on Parliament, and on the government itself. Legislation will be needed to turn the recommendations from today's report into reality.

"The game deserves nothing less."

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