Fans urge parties to back football regulator plans

'The league is "committed to working with the new government to ensure no further momentum is lost" after the general election.'

Fans have urged political party leaders to commit to reintroducing a Football Governance Bill in their election manifestos.

An open letter from more than 170 fan groups, the Football Supporters Association and former sports minister Tracey Crouch calls on leaders to back a new bill.

Legislation was being rushed through on Friday as it is the last day MPs will sit in Parliament before the general election on 4 July.

However, the Football Governance Bill was not set to be up for discussion, meaning it will run out of time to become law.

“This legislation contained key principles which would block future breakaway leagues, improve financial sustainability, protect club heritage and give fans a greater say in how the game and the clubs they love are run,” the open letter says.

The government announced plans to appoint a regulator in February 2023, following a fan-led review in 2022.

The fan-led review said a regulator was necessary for the long-term financial stability of the men’s professional game, citing issues including financial mismanagement and plans for a breakaway European Super League.

“Unfortunately the Football Governance Bill will progress no further and although there is a ready made bill for the next government, I won’t be here to see it pass,” Crouch said on Thursday.

Crouch, who oversaw the review and is standing down as a Conservative MP at the general election, added: “A lot of people have poured their heart and soul into the bill – officials, politicians, authorities, clubs and of course fans.”

Asked what Labour’s plans are for the Football Governance Bill, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We absolutely want to see reforms but in terms of setting out the timetables of what those would be, we’ll do that as part of our manifesto.”

In March, Premier League clubs failed to agree on a ‘New Deal’ for English Football League (EFL) funding.

That was despite warnings from Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer that failure to reach a deal would mean one being imposed on them by the new football regulator.

EFL chairman Rick Parry said while the body “had hoped to see the Football Governance Bill passed into legislation in the current Parliament” the league is “committed to working with the new government to ensure no further momentum is lost” after the general election.

Original article published 24.05.2024 on the BBC Sport website.

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