England has enjoyed 83 years of the Premier League, and the Premier League has enjoyed billions of dollars of central government funding. However, last week the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), a fan-led organisation, took the Premier League to court over the central funding of the domestic TV rights, which the FSF says is unfair to fans.
The dangers to English football of match-fixing and corruption are very real, a leading fan-led review has concluded. This is the message from chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, Malcolm Clarke following a meeting of his group yesterday with a group of football fans who are leading a review into match-fixing and corruption in the game.
A culture review of English football’s biggest clubs finds that there is an increasing number of examples of fans being mistreated and abused. This is a concern for the public and the game itself, according to the chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF).. Read more about fan-led review of football and let us know what you think.
Following the unveiling of the Super League in May, football supporters staged protests outside stadiums.
According to the head of a government-commissioned fan-led study, the risks confronting English league clubs are “extremely serious,” with essential elements of the nation’s game “at actual risk.”
Tracey Crouch, the former sports minister, has written to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, proposing a number of steps.
An independent regulator will “guard the future of our game,” according to the plan.
Over 100 hours of testimony from fans, the Football Association, and clubs at all levels have been heard throughout the inquiry.
Crouch said, “The evidence has been overwhelming that football clubs are not regular companies.” “In their communities, they perform an important social, civic, and cultural role.”
“They must be safeguarded, sometimes from their owners, who are just the present caretakers of a communal asset.”
“Aspects of our national game are under grave jeopardy. The European Super League’s short-lived danger jeopardized the English football pyramid’s future.
“While that threat has faded – for the time being – the risks confronting numerous teams throughout the nation are quite real, with their fates fragile and reliant in most instances on owners’ willingness and capacity to finance substantial losses.”
Crouch proposes the following measures:
- A new independent regulator to deal with the problems that are most important to the game’s dangers, including as financial regulation, corporate governance, and ownership.
- Over the summer, further work will be done to guarantee more fan involvement and influence at all levels of the game’s administration.
- Suggested possible reforms at the Football Association, Football League, and Premier League, including a suggestion that independent non-executive directors make up at least half of the FA board.
- Greater protection for key club assets such as emblems, location, and colors, thanks to a ‘golden share’ that gives fans veto power.
- Over the summer, there will be further research on income flows across the football pyramid, including ‘parachute payments.’
- Calls for the football authorities to take a more coordinated approach to improving player welfare, especially among players who have been discharged from the youth system.
- Allowing teams in League Two to use all-weather fields to assist with income creation in lower divisions.
- The English Football League (EFL) should start talking about absorbing the National League’s top level into the EFL system.
- A tax on transfer or agency fees may be implemented to help fund the growth of grassroots, amateur, and women’s sports.
- Following “various” evidence on the best path ahead, a separate study into the future of women’s football has been launched.
Crouch’s final recommendations will be released in the fall.
‘English football is in the midst of an existential crisis.’
The study was pledged as part of the Conservative Party’s 2019 General Election platform and was launched soon after the Super League’s formation and quick demise in April.
Crouch used Deloitte data from 2018-19, prior to the onset of the coronavirus epidemic, as evidence of several teams’ financial precarious condition.
She noted that nine Premier League teams were believed to have incurred pre-tax losses in that season, with eight clubs having wage-to-turnover ratios of more than 70%.
All but two Championship teams posted pre-tax losses in the same season, with an average wage-to-turnover ratio of 107 percent.
“It’s frightening to realize that these figures are the culmination of a lengthy era in which football’s income has been rising at or near record levels,” she wrote.
“The danger of future revenue losses as the broadcast market diversifies suggests that, without change, English football may face an existential crisis in the years ahead unless proactive action is done now.”
She went on to say that football officials, as well as a number of clubs, had “lost the faith and confidence” of supporters.
She said that the authorities had previously been given numerous warnings that had gone unheeded, and that “it is now time for foreign help.”
Crouch also said that the game’s governing authorities had not done enough to advance the equality, diversity, and inclusion agenda.
‘Fan feedback has been taken into account.’
“We’ve seen this year with the failed European Super League plans and Euro 2020 how important football is to our national life,” Dowden said of Crouch’s suggestions.
“I’ve made it plain that now is the moment to take a broad look at game reform.” I shall not be afraid to take risks if required.
“I appreciate the chair’s and panel’s updates on the fan-led evaluation. In the fall, I eagerly anticipate getting the final report and suggestions.”
“It’s obvious from the early report that not only has the evidence been driven by fans but that those fan voices have been heard,” said Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).
“It’s particularly encouraging to see the commitment to establishing a new independent regulator for English football.
“Additional ideas relating to the game’s long-term viability, such as golden shares for fan organizations, grassroots investment, obligatory supporter involvement, and a strong voice for fans in all levels of governance, are very promising.”
“We will continue to contribute to the review’s work by fleshing out the details of the interim recommendations. Their complete adoption may represent a major step toward ensuring our clubs’, communities’, and the game’s long-term viability.”
“We will now examine the first update and are committed to assisting Tracey Crouch, the Panel, and the DCMS team as they complete their recommendations,” a spokesperson said of the Premier League’s reaction to the early findings.
“In football, fans play an important role, and teams have a major influence on their communities. On these critical concerns, we look forward to working together with the FA, EFL, and other football organizations.”
‘There will be no more Russian roulette with club traditions and history.’
Crouch’s suggestions were also welcomed by the Fair Game organization, which is pushing for reform of the sport, including the establishment of an independent regulator.
“This letter has a lot to be grateful for,” director Niall Couper remarked. “It is clearly obvious that a new football regulator is required. Football can’t keep going in the same unsustainable direction.
“The Premier League is the world’s wealthiest league.” Despite this, the Championship is the world’s most loss-making league, with the likes of Bury and Macclesfield collapsing and a slew of more clubs on the verge of failure.
“This letter finds that the game’s money flows need to be overhauled. Redressing the equilibrium, however, cannot be left entirely to the leagues – the same organizations that have brought us to this point.
“For gamblers, English football has become a seductive song. As the writer correctly points out, far too many teams regularly spend much more on player salaries than is suggested.
“Owners should no longer be permitted to play Russian roulette with a football club’s history and traditions.”
‘I don’t want issues; offer me some solutions,’ says the speaker. – Examine
Simon Stone, a sports journalist, says:
The first impressions I got from individuals in the game were divided. It is unsurprising that an independent regulator has been discussed for so long and by so many people.
The allocation of funds and fan participation have also been discussed extensively.
There was nearly a directive for the National League to restructure its board of directors, which stems from the squabbles over the league’s chaotic condition last season and demands for the resignation of then-chairman Brian Barwick, who has since resigned.
However, reading the article reminded me of something my mother used to say to me when I was a kid: ‘I don’t want problems; I have enough; give me some answers.’
Despite all of Tracey Crouch’s well-researched concerns, the basics remain. The majority of income in English football is generated by a group of top teams that are all privately owned. The present structure enables them to retain the vast majority of it, while the remainder is filtered out.
As a result, certain teams are very rich, while other elements of the game are less so. Furthermore, none of the individuals in charge of the bodies in issue believe they are doing a poor job.
‘This is only the beginning,’ adds Crouch. But she’ll need a lot of drive – and government backing – to bring about the transformation that many people believe has been long overdue.
There is little doubt that football is a dangerous game despite the efforts of governing bodies to make it safer. In this case, however, the dangers to English football are very real, according to a new report by a group of fans, which claims that the Premier League’s culture of commercialism has put players’ health in danger. The group, which includes journalists, football agents, former players, and former managers, has compiled a dossier it says exposes the dangers to English football, which it accuses of “poisoning young people’s minds” with images of beer cans, beer bottles and “bacchanalian excess”.. Read more about fan-led review of football governance and let us know what you think.
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