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Government Has Already Started Hiring For Senior Football Regulator Role

(Alamy)

3 min read

A senior role in the Civil Service to kickstart an independent football regulator has already closed its application process, as a Bill to reform the sport is widely expected to be included in the King's Speech next week.

The position of Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Independent Football Regulator was advertised internally and to the public, with the successful candidate expected to start as soon as possible. 

PoliticsHome understands the successful applicant could be renumerated with a salary of more than £100,000-a-year. A potential Bill to legislate for an independent football regulator may receive its first reading towards the end of November, if it appears in the King's Speech on 7 November. 

The contract for the new role will last between a year and 18 months, according to leading sport website The Athletic.

A shadow regulator could receive funding after a proposed bill passes its Second Reading, which could take place as early as February. After this has happened the Government will be able to set up a transition team working on the shadow regulator. Industry sources told PoliticsHome they expect a shadow regulator to be put in place by early 2024, which would mean it would operate during the current 2023/24 football season. 

Niall Couper, CEO for Fair Game, told PoliticsHome Britain is “moving closer” to an independent regulator and the move cannot come “soon enough”.

"Since the start of the Premier League 64 clubs in our top four divisions have gone into administration, and others no longer exist,” he said.

"The very future of Sheffield Wednesday, Reading, Southend, Scunthorpe and so many others remain in doubt.

"Yet the pressure to overspend has never been greater. And good governance is a rarity rather than the norm.” 

Earlier this week Couper told PoliticsHome it was important for the regulator to be given “teeth” and powers to ensure football clubs are regulated properly.

Former cabinet minister Damian Green, who sits on the DCMS committee, told a Future of Football event on Monday he was confident the football regulator would be brought forward soon.

The Conservative MP for Ashford said he suspected a shadow regulator would be in place before the Bill would be made law, which he believed could take up to a year.

Green said he believed the regulator would be limited in scope at first and focus on financially regulating England's football clubs. 

The Government said in September a new regulator would “have a tightly defined scope focused on financial sustainability”.

Earlier this year a Government White Paper set out a plan on how to govern the top five leagues of English football. 

PoliticsHome previously reported that Stuart Andrew, the Sports Minister, has been receptive to MPs’ demands to bring forward a new regulator.

The Government has repeatedly committed to introducing legislation which would help set up an independent regulator. However, the exact details of what it will look like are still unclear. 

It has promised it will be independent and will work with footballing bodies including the Football Association (FA). 

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said they would not comment on speculation related to the King's speech. 

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