After hearing over 100 hours of testimony from stakeholders at all levels of football, the Tracey Crouch fan-led review of the governance of the game has been released and the former sports minister made 47 recommendations that have the potential to change sport beyond recognition.
The 162-page journal, first promised in the Tories’ pre-election manifesto in 2019, was launched in response to failed European Super League plans in April.
Crouch led an 11-person panel including former England and Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson and they listened to stakeholders throughout the game.
So what will the recommendations mean for your club?
here football.london examines the most important ones described in the document and assesses the potential for their implementation.
The most important suggestion of all. An independent regulator would be set up by an act of Parliament and would oversee the financial regulation of sport. Premier League clubs should oppose the creation of a regulator but the EFL has already put its weight into it and 93% of fans surveyed by the panel (16,658 out of 17,938) said it should be a priority.
“Given the dire state of football’s finances, bold leadership and tough decisions are needed,” the report said. âThe current oversight of financial rules is led by the leagues, made up of the clubs that will be regulated. Making bold decisions and being able to get support for this change is very difficult.
âMore importantly, there is a clear conflict of interest between the interests of clubs and their direct or indirect involvement in monitoring the system that regulates them. Independent regulation is the only way to overcome this problem because there will be no conflict of interest. As a statutory body with a clearly defined purpose, an independent regulator will listen but not be constrained by the voices of the clubs, allowing it to effect changes in a timely manner.
Many of the other recommendations could not be implemented without them being established.
Clubs will need to apply for a license to operate through the regulator, which will be funded on a scale with Premier League teams paying more for running costs. The body would have the power to sanction any club that violates the licensing rules.
Owners and administrators test
The current test has been described as inadequate by stakeholders for many years and Crouch’s proposal to split it in half with much stricter criteria can only be seen as a good thing. This can be done without a regulator, although the report says it should be managed by the new body.
A source of long-term irritation for small clubs, his intention is called “laudable” by Crouch but in need of extensive reform. Discussions have already taken place between the Premier League and EFL but no solution is in sight. The report adds: âIf football cannot find a solution by the end of the year, the Review concluded that the Premier League and EFL should jointly seek external advice to develop a solution to the parachute payments as well as broader distribution issues. There are no details on an alternative model, although Crouch writes that “creative thinking” is required.
A solidarity levy on transfers, according to the review, is “the most progressive intervention” when it comes to filtering more money into the pyramid. This would see Premier League clubs incurring an additional cost similar to the stamp duty on purchases from overseas players or other high profile rivals. Starting from the 10% figure, the review estimated that an average of Â£ 160million per season would have been redistributed over the past five years.
“It would be a relatively modest cost for Premier League clubs [particularly given the relative financial advantage of the Premier League over other European leagues because broadcast income will grow in years to come] but every year it could be a game-changer for the rest of the football pyramid, âthe report said, adding that a payment of Â£ 160million would ensure third and fourth tier clubs broke even in benefiting from a special grant and more than 280 pitches for grassroots teams. could be built.
Premier League clubs would strongly reject any attempt to introduce such a tax and it is unlikely to become a reality without a regulator with sufficient powers.
A proposal that will satisfy most supporters, it is not known what kind of pushback to expect from the clubs. Essentially, the âgolden shareâ would see named fan groups, mostly existing fan trusts, given a veto over decisions about their club’s legacy, effectively ending the prospect of their club’s legacy. the creation of a closed Super League. “[Decisions] would require the consent of the shareholder to certain actions of the club – in particular selling the club’s stadium or moving it permanently outside its local area, joining a new competition not affiliated with FIFA, UEFA and the FA, or change the club badge, the club name or the colors of the first home team.
One aspect unlikely to please the PFA is the recommendation to insert a clause in players’ contracts that would see wages drop and increase by a fixed percentage based on promotion or relegation.
Drink in the stands
A suggestion that can be introduced without too much paperwork or legal resistance. The review offers a pilot project in Ligue 2 and the National League that would allow fans to take a pint in the stands. Police may object, but Crouch says it will help the sustainability of small clubs, thereby increasing their income.
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Protect the young and old
Although not initially part of the remit of the panel, the report contains a chapter on player well-being. Among the proposals is a call to align private academies with county FAs, but the main concern is the lack of follow-up for those leaving the game.
âAs a priority, football stakeholders, including the FA, men’s leagues, the PFA, clubs and women’s leagues [must] working together to design a holistic and comprehensive player wellness system to fully support players leaving the game, particularly at the academy level but including retired players, including proactive care and support mental health, âthe report says, but does not detail many specific solutions or describe what mental health care should include.