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English Soccer Gets its Own Independent Regulator

Soccer is a huge part of English culture. It has been that way for over a century, but things don’t always go as smoothly as soccer leagues and regulators would like. Similar to playing a game slot online, the desired outcome isn’t always the reality. 

That could change soon, however. According to the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the British government will create an independent regulator for English soccer. This will deal with financial matters, club ownership and corporate governance.

Regulator to Help Clean Up Soccer

The UK government will support the 10 strategic recommendations made by Tracey Crouch, the former sports minister, in her fan-led review on governance in the game. Primary legislation will support the regulator through statutory powers to license and sanction clubs.

The review examined problems in the game after fan protests about lower league clubs being placed into administration and controversial plans by top clubs such as the European Super League.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pointed out that soccer brings people together. He also emphasized the government’s support of the fan-led plans to ensure the future of the national game. This includes the investment of £230 million ($294.47 million) to improve grassroots pitches and to strengthen the voice of the fans in the management of their clubs.

The regulator will also be responsible for applying an enhanced owner’s and director’s test both before an acquisition of a club, as well as on an ongoing basis. This will increase transparency across the leagues.

Integrity Key to the Future

A DCMS statement stated that the new “integrity test” will be used for all owners and executives. It will also include enhanced due diligence, including funding sources, upon acquisition. It will replace current tests administered to the Premier League, English Football League and the Football Association.

The regulator will also have the ability to exercise financial supervision of clubs, including information gathering and enforcement powers. The DCMS, in collaborating with the government, determined that resolution should be sought at the soccer organizational level before becoming a national matter.

The government will issue a white paper on the new regulator this summer. It will provide further details about the government’s preferred solution, including regulatory “backstop” powers.

Leagues Show Mixed Reactions

The Premier League stated that while it accepts the government’s call for reform, it feels that a statutory-backed regulator wasn’t necessary. It also said it had its own plans to ensure that fans’ voices are heard.

The league released a statement saying that they were pleased with the government’s clarification about their position. However, the league stated that it isn’t necessary to have a statutory-backed regulator.

The Premier League added, “We all agree that the League’s fans are vital to the game. We should listen to their voices across the League. We will be introducing several measures to improve this area, and plan to make an announcement before the 2022/23 seasons.”

Rick Parry, chairman of the English Football League, said in a statement that the league would support an independent regulator if it offered a way to “reset” the game’s finances through better regulation and fairer redistribution throughout the pyramid.

Parry asserted, “It should also be acknowledged that the EFL has been trying to advance the issue for two years, calling in favour of a 75-25 split revenue with the Premier League without any tangible progress.”

“We also appreciate the fact that the government is open for the regulator to have a ‘backstop power’ to implement redistribution throughout the pyramid, in the event that football cannot agree to a solution.”

Fan Engagement to Improve

English soccer had, for decades, been plagued by scandals, mostly on the part of the fans. Their repeated outbursts and rioting caused damage to the leagues, as well as to the UK. 

The new regulator could help eliminate that image, as well. It will initiate programs that will lead to more fan engagement, including accepting input on stadiums, team names and logos and more. By giving fans a voice in teams’ activities, perhaps they will be less inclined to create a scene. 

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