Nine pillars needed to make independent football regulator a success
“The regulator must be transparent, it must have teeth, and it must be able to ensure a fair financial flow that rewards well-run clubs. It can be done. Our report provides the template. It is now up to our politicians to deliver, and ensure the game has the sustainability that well-run clubs, fans and communities desperately need.”
Niall Couper, CEO, Fair Game
A new comprehensive research paper from regulatory industry experts has identified nine key areas to ensure the new Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF) governs effectively and successfully.
The paper, entitled English Football Regulation – Making it Work, has been released today by Fair Game, a group of professional football clubs campaigning to improve football governance, and draws on the opinions of Fair Game’s 34 member clubs and the resources of its extensive network of academic and industry experts.
Fair Game’s paper puts forward a number of key recommendations for IREF, which is the cornerstone of the Football Governance Bill expected to be introduced to Parliament in early 2024.
The seven-page report recommends the regulator should have control of football’s financial flow, distributing broadcasting revenues in a system based on average divisional attendances and the Fair Game Index which identifies well-run clubs.
The regulator’s remit must also extend throughout the professional football pyramid, from the Premier League to the National League North and South.
The regulator should also have sufficient powers to enforce standards, including the power to commission in-depth audits, impose financial penalties, and even appoint members to a club’s board.
These recommendations, which should cover the entire football pyramid, fall under nine key pillars in the report.
Nine pillars for successful regulation
The nine pillars are:
Accountability, transparency, appeals and complaints handling
Professionalism and expertise
Diversity and inclusion
Capability to act promptly
Authority and funding
Campbell Tickell contributes to new research paper on English Football Regulation
The research was pulled together by experts in a range of regulatory frameworks, including Phil Taylor, who has been an Audit and Risk Chair in the housing association sector for many years; Bart Huby, partner at LCP, with expertise in football analytics and in policy and regulation in the pensions, health and energy industries; and Greg Campbell, founding partner at Campbell Tickell, a management consultancy that has worked with over 25 different regulators in the charity, health, housing, legal services, sports and utility sectors.
The team also worked with experts who helped design sports regulatory frameworks.
Their findings were shared with Fair Game’s Advisory Council, which is made up of representatives from clubs from the Premier League to the non-league game, to ensure the proposals can work in practice and deliver meaningful change.
Niall Couper, Fair Game CEO, said:
“Football is on the cusp of a momentous change with the imminent introduction of an Independent Regulator. But if we are to avoid the mistakes that led to the demise of Bury and Macclesfield, and have left the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Reading, Southend, Scunthorpe and so many others on the brink, then we must ensure we have the right regulator. The regulator must be transparent, it must have teeth, and it must be able to ensure a fair financial flow that rewards well-run clubs. It can be done. English Football Regulation – Making it Work provides the template. It is now up to our politicians to deliver and ensure the game has the sustainability that well-run clubs, fans and communities desperately need.”
Greg Campbell, Partner, Campbell Tickell added:
“It’s vital that the regulator looks at the sustainability of individual clubs and the overall football pyramid, while having the power to take action on both fronts. The regulator should hold clubs to account on financial sustainability, good governance, the Owners and Directors Test, and areas such as fan engagement, and diversity and inclusion. But it must also have the power to act if the distribution of finance across football undermines the health of our game. As well as the ability to impose sanctions, it should also reward good behaviour by well-run clubs, based on measures such as the Fair Game Index.”
Read the full paper: English Football Regulation – Making it Work
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