The government has published draft legislation which will establish the Independent Football Regulator; make provision for the licensing of football clubs; make provision about the the distribution of revenue received by organisers of football competitions; and for connected purposes.

Soccer game

In a landmark move aimed at improving the financial sustainability of clubs and safeguarding the heritage of English football, the UK government has issued the Football Governance Bill.

The bill follows a series of high-profile cases of financial mismanagement and collapse in English football, including the attempted breakaway European Super League. The introduction of the bill follows the government's commitment to deliver a fan-led review of football governance.

Key highlights of the bill include:

  • Establishment of the Independent Football Regulator (IFR) as a standalone body, independent of both the government and football authorities
  • The core objectives of the IFR are to: improve financial sustainability of clubs, ensure financial resilience across the leagues, and to safeguard the heritage of English football.
  • The IFR will have the ability to fine clubs up to 10% of turnover for non-compliance. Blocking of breakaway closed-shop competitions such as the European Super League.
  • Implementation of strengthened owners' and directors' tests to prevent clubs from falling into the wrong hands. Owners' and directors' could face the possibility of being removed and struck off from owning football clubs if they are found to be unsuitable.
  • Backstop powers to impose a 'new deal' on financial distributions between leagues if agreements cannot be reached.
  • The bill also includes provisions for fan engagement, requiring clubs to consult with supporters on key off-field decisions.
  • The IFR will produce periodic reports on the state of the game, assess new owners and directors, and advocate for the sustainability of English football.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasised the historic significance of the bill, stating, "This Bill is a historic moment for football fans – it will make sure their voices are front and centre, prevent a breakaway league, protect the financial sustainability of clubs, and protect the heritage of our clubs big and small". The Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer echoed this sentiment, emphasising the importance of putting fans back at the heart of the game.

With English football facing financial challenges, the government's move aims to secure the long-term success and sustainability of the sport for generations to come.

Stay tuned for further developments as the bill moves through Parliament! 

External Links 

Football Governance Bill

Football Governance Bill - Explanatory Notes