Premier League warns against independent regulator who could put English game ‘at risk’

April 9 – The English Premier League has issued a warning of the ‘risk’ that the incoming independent regulator could pose to the success of English football.

The warning is made via an ad on politics website Politico’s London Playbook blog, that appears as ‘A message from The Premier League’ and links to the Premier League’s More than a Game campaign.

That campaign outlines the provision of funds for football outside of the top flight, and initiatives ranging from providing help with facilities and opportunities at grassroots level up to the support for EFL clubs in its three professional leagues.

In its message the Premier League reminds government that it “is the world’s most-watched competition, the Championship is Europe’s sixth wealthiest league, and we have the best-attended and deepest pyramid in world football.”

Which in itself does beg the question as to whether a regulator is required or whether it is purely a power play by politicians to gain a power position in one of England’s most successful exports without having to pay a buy-in.

The message then highlights that “the UK will soon become the first major country to regulate football. We must guard against unintended consequences that would put English football’s success at risk.”

In November the government announced, somewhat high handedly considering its own reputation for corporate governance, that “legislation will be brought forward to safeguard the further of football clubs for the benefit of communities and fans”.

At its heart is a remit to ensure the financial sustainability of English clubs and the English football pyramid.

The concept of an ‘independent’ football regulator was one of the key recommendations in a fan-led review of football governance.

The fear of many in club ownership is that the regulator’s power to affect and reduce Premier League revenue risks undermining the leagues status as the world’s most lucrative football competition.

The Premier League’s message comes at a time when English clubs are divided over financial redistribution. Half of the Premier League’s clubs have said they would vote against a league-proposed of £836 million extra support over five years on

top of solidarity payments to the Football League.

The government’s new football regulator reportedly has the power to intervene to alter the distribution of the league’s media revenues.

The Premier League is already committed to paying out £1.6 billion to the EFL and grassroots bodies from 2022 to 2025.

While the concept of protecting the game is laudable and one that none of England’s football stakeholders would disagree with, perhaps within the current political powerplay the parameters of who and what the game needs to be protected from should be made more transparent by the politicians.

There is a big difference between providing the game with legislative support to protect it from threats like the European Super League, and telling the league and club owners – most of whom are losing money in the top two English tiers – where and how they can spend there money.

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