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What is the football white paper? English football set for a major changes

What is the English football white paper? English football set for a major changes

The upcoming release of the government’s white paper is expected to bring significant changes to English football. These changes, based on recommendations from the independent Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, aim to safeguard all clubs from inappropriate ownership and will have a lasting impact on the sport.

Sportsdias.com has provided a detailed breakdown of the key information regarding the government’s proposed changes, which encompass a wide range of areas.

Key aims of the football governance white paper

  • A new independent regulator to ensure other clubs don’t end up like Bury or Macclesfield Town
  • A strengthened owners’ and directors’ test across the EFL and Premier League
  • Fans to have an increased say in the running of their club
  • Breakaway leagues that threaten the integrity of English football will be blocked

Independent regulator

An independent regulator will be established by law for the first time in English football history. 

Its primary objective will be to guarantee that all clubs, from the Premier League to the National League, have a solid financial foundation.

 To accomplish this, a new licensing system will be implemented, necessitating that every club demonstrate sound financial and governance practices before they are permitted to compete.

Preventing clubs from going bankrupt is the primary goal of the regulator, which is why the incomes and expenditures of clubs will be closely monitored. 

Additionally, the regulator will be empowered to intervene and require the Premier League to distribute some of its wealth throughout the football pyramid if an agreement with the EFL and National League cannot be reached.

 It is believed that the Premier League’s immense wealth would be enough to support the other divisions of English football.

Stricter owners’ and directors’ test

The reason for the bankruptcy of Bury and Macclesfield Town was due to unscrupulous club owners, and their replacements lacked sufficient funding despite passing the owners’ and directors’ test. Therefore, club owners in England must demonstrate that they are responsible custodians, possess adequate funds, and present a sustainable business plan to prevent further club bankruptcies.

Prospective buyers who are multi-millionaires must demonstrate that their wealth was obtained legitimately, meaning that someone like Roman Abramovich, who has been sanctioned, would not be permitted to purchase another club in England.

In addition to proving their financial suitability and presenting a sustainable business plan, club directors must also safeguard their clubs’ essential assets. The owners’ and directors’ tests at all levels will include appropriate checks and balances.

Currently, it is unclear whether state-backed bids for clubs would be permitted. There has been interest from Qatar in purchasing Manchester United, but there is no clear information on whether such a bid would be allowed.

Fans to have an augmented say in the running of their clubs

Currently, football fans have very little influence on club decisions. Clubs can relocate stadiums or change their badge at will. However, the independent regulator will strive to change this and ensure that supporters are involved in decision-making at all levels of clubs.

In particular, if club owners wish to relocate their stadium, introduce a new badge, change the club’s name, or alter the home shirt colors, they must consult with and listen to their supporters. Furthermore, if any club intends to sell its stadium or relocate, it must obtain approval from the independent regulator.

This measure will prevent owners from making unilateral decisions and bypassing their supporters.

Breakaway leagues will be blocked

In 2021, the European Super League attracted six Premier League teams who sought to undermine the established football pyramid. 

Following fan protests and backlash, the clubs withdrew from the league and the idea failed. Despite this, there remains a risk of a breakaway league, and the independent regulator has been given substantial authority to prevent its occurrence.

To safeguard English football and the Premier League from future threats, measures have been put in place to prevent English clubs from joining any competitions that could harm the existing football pyramid. 

The government is committed to ensuring the protection of English football and the Premier League from any similar schemes such as the European Super League.

When will the reforms come into play?

Although the introduction date for the independent regulator has not been determined, the government plans to initiate discussions without delay. Legislation to enforce these changes will be deliberated in parliament as soon as it becomes feasible.

 As a result, there is a possibility of prompt progress on this matter.

Football governance white paper: What has been said?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Since its inception over 165 years ago, English football has been bringing people together, providing a source of pride for communities and inspiration to millions of fans across the country.

“Yet despite the success of the sport both at home and abroad, we know that there are real challenges which threaten the stability of clubs both big and small.

“These bold new plans will put fans back at the heart of football, protect the rich heritage and traditions of our much-loved clubs and safeguard the beautiful game for future generations”

Chair of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance Tracey Crouch said: “This is a big day for football in this country and I am delighted the government has acted on the key strategic recommendations in my review.

“The introduction of a new independent regulator of football will strengthen our incredible pyramid, giving investors, fans and communities confidence in the governance of our clubs, enabling them to thrive in the best leagues in the world.

“Football is nothing without its fans, and the announcement today will ensure they remain at its heart while it continues to grow at home and abroad.”

What is the English football white paper? English football set for a major changes

What is the English football white paper? English football set for a major changes

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