Wed, 17 April 2024

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The House Live All
By Bishop of Leeds
Press releases

Government Set To Push Through Football Regulator Within Weeks

Rishi Sunak attending a football match (Alamy)

3 min read

The Government is expected to introduce the Football Governance Bill to parliament within weeks, which will bring forward a regulator despite the Premier League having failed to come to a financial deal.

Government ministers have long urged Premier League teams to reach a settlement where they would agree to redistribute wealth to smaller clubs in the football pryamid. Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has held meetings and hosted receptions with key stakeholders from the football sector to finalise a new deal for football clubs and fans. Sources close to those meeetings have claimed they were a "car crash" and a "shambles".

Premier League clubs on Monday came together to try and reach a "New Deal" to redistribute funds and revenue with EFL clubs. More than half of top-flight clubs reportedly opposed a new financial deal which would do this, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and West Ham.

The meeting is understood to have been the final one between Premier League clubs on this subject before a Football Governance Bill is introduced in the Commons. 

Government has been keen to emphasise it would like all 20 Premier League clubs to come to a financial settlement before the football regulator was in place. However it has said if they cannot come to an agreement a new regulator will step in and impose a deal on all clubs.  

PoliticsHome understands the Football Governance Bill is set to be put before MPs in the House of Commons in the next few weeks after the Premier League failed to agree a financial package on Monday. The government is expected to find Parliamentary time for the Bill before the summer recess.

Niall Couper, CEO of FairGame, said the latest "impasse" made it more important that the upcoming regulator had "teeth" to deal with the financial issues in football. 

“Of course, it is welcome news that our Prime Minister appears to be pushing forward with the regulator. But the key is not about getting any regulator, it is about getting the right regulator," he said. 

One Tory MP, who holds a role in Government, told PoliticsHome the Football Governance Bill would be receiving its first reading in Parliament whether the Premier League liked it or not. “It doesn’t matter whether they agree or not, whether the Premier League like it or not: the Bill is coming,” they said. 

An industry source claimed Downing Street had lost all patience with Premier League clubs. They believed aides in Number 10 felt as if they had been "lied to" over the prospect of a financial deal. 

A number of industry sources have told PoliticsHome they believed ministers were drafting whether to set out a timetable for when the Bill would come to the Commons. 

DCMS spokesperson could not confirm the exact timing of the Football Governance Bill but said it was on the side of football fans and will continue to work with clubs. 

“The Government is on the side of football fans, and we continue to engage with leagues and clubs ahead of the introduction of the Football Governance Bill," they said. 

"We have a clear plan to deliver a sustainable future for football, with fans at its heart, and our forthcoming legislation will deliver this through a tough new independent regulator."

Additional reporting from Adam Payne

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