FLR: Government White Paper Launched
As widely expected, a massive shake-up of the domestic game in England is on the way following the launch of the government’s white paper on football governance today. Proposed changes will see the introduction of an independent regulator, give football fans more influence, protect clubs from ‘unscrupulous’ owners and give government powers to stop clubs from pursuing their own ideas such as the recently ill fated European Super League.
Designed to ‘put fans back at the heart of how football is run’ and ensure the game is more sustainable, the government has responded to the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, led by Tracey Crouch MP in 2021, by making clear that it wants to see changes to the way the game is managed.
New legislation, if approved in Parliament, will also put tighter restrictions on who can buy football clubs, with the new regulator put in place to keep the law and ensure the financial stability of the game. This is expected to include determining how money is distributed throughout the game if the current authorities, namely the Premier League and the EFL, are unable to reach agreement.
The new rules will give supporters a bigger say in the running of their club and help protect its heritage including, for example, preventing owners from making changes to the name, badge and traditional colours of their home kits without the consultation of the fanbase. Clubs will also be forced to seek approval from the regulator for any sale or relocation of the stadium, with fan engagement a major part of that process.
There will be a new and strengthened test for owners and directors, designed to ‘protect clubs and their fans from unscrupulous owners’, with a focus on stronger due diligence measures on sources of wealth and the requirement for ‘robust’ financial planning.
There is also a focus on safeguarding clubs and their roles as assets to the local community, which is put at risk by poor financial management and has led to the demise of a number of historic clubs in recent years including Bury and Macclesfield Town, and with Derby County recently on the brink of liquidation. There have been 64 instances of English clubs being put into administration since the Premier League was launched in 1992.
Overall, the plans are being put into effect to secure the future of English football for generations to come, and the proposals have the backing of a host of club owners and leading figures in the game together with, importantly, widespread cross party political support.
The white paper can be read here
Tracey Crouch has 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.
Blues Trust warmly welcomes the publication of the white paper. The Trust was actively engaged in the FLR when it was undertaken 18 months ago, and has since campaigned strongly for the adoption of its key recommendations. The Trust has also held a series of discussions with senior officials from BCFC to urge early consideration of some of the measures being proposed.
Cliff Horrocks, Trust Chair, said:
This is an important development after many months of hard work from football supporters across the country. The game needs major reform if it is to survive and remain a sport enjoyed by millions of people, not just those who follow the major Premier League clubs. Blues Trust is delighted that the white paper has been published, but more work is required to ensure that Parliament agrees the proposals and introduces legislation so that clubs like ours can be better run in future.
In the meantime, the Sell The Club campaign will continue. And it could be a long battle. However, I hope BSHL realise they will need to move on before the independent regulator gets its teeth into them.
Blues Trust looks forward to the introduction of the changes at the earliest opportunity and will continue to try and work with Birmingham City FC to ensure Blues fans are actively involved as expected. The Trust will also continue to keep members and supporters fully informed of ongoing developments.
By making comments:
- All we ask is that it relates to the Club that we all love. It can inform, question, challenge, criticise even….but it should not be written to threaten and/or cause personal offence.
- By making comments on the above article, you agree to Blues Trust retaining your email address should we need to make contact with you for admin purposes. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not wish us to do this. We will not give out your email address to any 3rd party sources.
The Trust reserves the right to moderate any comments made (in consultation with the writer) or to deny publication if comments are considered to be inconsistent with the requirements identified above.