Independent football regulator ‘could restore faith’ in the game

Independent football regulator ‘could restore faith’ in the game

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

An MP has called for the creation of an independent regulator for football to “restore faith” in the game. 

Labour’s Chris Matheston presented a Bill to Parliament today that mandates that clubs being mismanaged should face scrutiny from a body independent of the football clubs. 

In his speech, the Chester MP listed a number of clubs struggling because of mismanagement by the owners. 

Blackpool FC fans ended a four-year boycott in March after the departure of their owner Owen Oyston, who had been found to have “illegitimately stripped” £26.77m from the club. 

Mr Matheson told MPs on Wednesday: “A regulatory body under the Football Association that is adequately funded and suitably staffed with effective regulations and the power to enforce them could restore faith in the running of the game.”

He added: “If I don’t like Tesco’s, I can go to Sainsbury’s and if I am still unhappy I can go to ASDA, Waitrose, Aldi or Lidl. You can’t do that with a football team. 

“Football supporters have a profound sense of loyalty and belonging to a club that can’t be transferred at the first sign of trouble.”

If created, the body would ideally report to the FA with recommendations on how to address any deliberate financial mismanagement.

Mr Matheson suggested this Bill was important currently because football “can bring our country together again”.

“Football matters to so many people and at a time when our country is so divided,” he added.

“We must support the supporters with tough and independent regulation.”

The chairman of the Football Supporters’ Association said the football leagues could not “be relied upon to regulate themselves” because they are run by their clubs. 

Malcolm Clarke said: “Our historic clubs are in desperate need of strong regulation and protection from the small minority of owners who do not have the best interests of football at heart.

“We believe the FA should grasp this role and create an internal regulatory body which is properly funded and independent from the clubs and owners.”

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