The House View: Government intervention in football
March 2, 2023
Last week saw the massive announcement that there will be government intervention in football.
As Crystal Palace Chairman and Co-Owner said on Newsnight that evening, “It is unprecedented, we will be the only UK sporting industry to be regulated by the government.”
This is not a surprise to the football industry. According to the Crouch Report it was caused by three separate incidents that were the catalyst for a regulator to be involved in English football.
1.) The sad demise of Bury and the ownership and financial issues faced by clubs like Derby County and Macclesfield Town,
2.) The financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic
3.) The plans for the European Super League and the ‘Big 6’ clubs threatened to break away. (Which hasn’t gone away!)
The earliest a regulator could be established is for the 2024-25 season and be fully operational by 2025-26.
My key takeaways from the report
It was announced that the independent regulator, set up by the government, will issue an annual licence to football club owners based on their business plans and proof of their own financial health. In my opinion, this is a great initiative and is well overdue, it will protect clubs and ensure financial stability.
Another key element of the report that caught my eye is how the regulator will be funded. The amount each team in the top five leagues is going to pay will be based on total revenue. The ‘Big 6’ look set to pay 50% of the costs with the rest of the Premier League making it up to 80% and the bigger EFL clubs adding the remaining 20%. It will be interesting to see how keen the big clubs are to be picking up the majority of the bill.
My last takeaway is around agents and agent fees, which has been a huge point of discussion around football circles for a long time. This will be a tough one for the regulator to manage. It should be interesting to see what the outcome is as there has to be a middle ground. After all it is the players who make the Premier League what it is and we still need them.
Again it is all in the detail, it will be interesting to see how the government will bring these changes to life.
By Ray James, Chief Relationship Officer of iSportConnect formerly of Chelsea, Manchester City, Millwall and Sky Sports