FLR: Government White Paper Launched

23 Feb 2023 | 8 comments

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.

Blues Trust


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  1. Peter Bates

    This seems to me as another after the horse has bolted syndrome ,the club is now being charged again by the incompetent efl after they approved the ownership of our club and it is us the fans who will suffer ,and now they want to pretend there white paper is the answer to our problems and those of other clubs I’m sorry to say all this is too late we are in trouble because of the incompetence of the people who have run the efl they are a law unto themselves and should an independent authority run football the likes of Rick parry should not be allowed anywhere near it ,it is all to late there mistakes are going to cause us a big fine and or points deduction which could mean relegation it’s a joke and the efl are to blame

  2. Peter Bates

    Just a footnote we have suffered two owners carson yeung and bshl who both took the owners test and both were passed by the efl as competent and fit to run our club where were the efl when these people who they considered fit and proper were bleeding our club dry ,I rest my case

  3. Mitchell

    Peter. As regards the EFL they enjoy putting the fear of god up every BCFC supporter. What they fail to understand is that every Blues follower is ‘immune to gloom’. We are too battled weary.

  4. Smithy

    Very interesting scenario when it comes to the EFL chasing Blues yet again. Let’s take Man.City who would blow them out of the water should they attempt such action. EFL need to acknowledge mistakes made by THEM and not in retrospect go back and shift blame to Blues. All bully boy tactics. As Man.City would send a plane load of top barristers to deal with such EFL actions- Blues may just sit back and concede. I hope they don’t as one day this mockery of the EFL will be exposed and brought to task.

  5. Steve Robinson

    Cliff says he hopes BSHL will sell up “before the independent regulator gets its teeth into them”. Agreed Cliff and hopefully the new regulator will make sure we never get another Carson Yeung or BSHL with new pre-acquisition scrutiny that shines a spotlight on the ultimate beneficial owners. But much will hinge on how big the teeth are. And with the new emphasis on the role of fans and the community stakeholders, the regulators should ensure that sanctions should hit owners and not fans.

  6. Sausage n Egg

    The EFL should be made to explain why they passed previous idiots and current idiots as fit and proper..2 lots is worse than incompetent…by the time the goverment count all there chins and talk endless guff i fear it will be too little to late for us

  7. Stan Moye

    I feel very sceptical regarding this proposed reform. It just smacks of jobs for the boys. Whilst understand certain business information needs to remain confidential, fans of clubs are routinely fobbed of with a wall of silence by faceless administrators from the EFL. It all feels very convenient that any actions be it previous or current aren’t allowed to be challenged. If these proposals have any chance of changing the current incompetencies a much broader transparency is required. Never mind the fit and proper test for owners, it would be a good start to see how the assessors mark the officials and what action or feedback is given for some of the dubious performances regularly witnessed. The EFL seem quite happy to throw their weight around which ultimately effects the fans, especially when they sanction owners approved by themselves who in some cases probably should never have been given any such authority to run a football club.

  8. Roy

    Starting to think that we would be best going bankrupt, and starting as a new club, preferably fan owned. Not going to happen, neither is a change of ownership in the near future.

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