English Independent Football Regulator: Supposing the clubs just say “no”


According to the information provided thus far, the proposed English Independent Football Regulator would have access to financial information from clubs on a day-by-day basis, and force club owners who it deemed “unsuitable” to sell their shares in the club if the government felt like it.

And one might ask, what if a football club simply said, “no”.  Or maybe, what if a whole group of Premier League football clubs simply said, “no”.  The government would say, “well you have to,” I presume, and the club owner would say, “nope – we are moving to France, or Germany, or Spain.

So would Spain or Germany welcome Manchester City, or Arsenal to Liverpool?   Absolutely yes, no doubt about it.  It would give a real boost to their league having another club to challenge the two or three large clubs already there.

What would happen to the stadium?   Most football stadiums are in prime areas and are probably worth an awful lot more in terms of development potential than they are as football grounds, and so that would be another attraction.   The Premier League club sells the ground and makes a fortune for housing redevelopment.

Of course only a handful of clubs would move, but without say six of the big clubs would the league be the same?  No not at all.  Numbers would plumit while the league that welcomed in half a dozen ex-Premier League clubs would happily subsidize air flights from UK airports and overnight stays.

Meanwhile the UK government’s popularity would sink like a stone and the party in power would probably not recover for fifty years.    Introducing the regulator for football against the wishes of the clubs would be a suicide note.

OK that is all very dramatic, but let us suppose something else.   There will be a test for owners and directors under the new regulations.   Supposing the clubs just said no to that, en masse – would the government really take the Premier League on and stop the season from starting, knowing that everyone interested in Premier League football is likely never to vote for the party doing this, ever again.

In essence, the power is completely in the hands of the clubs, and they can stop the new regulator if they want, simply by agreeing not to sign up.

One big problem for the government is that in terms of fan engagement and club heritage, all the PL clubs will have to consult with fans but there is no obligation for the clubs then to do what fans want – exactly as now.  So there is absolutely nothing in the deal for us.

So in this regard for the fans there is no benefit,  with this deal there is none.

And we haven’t actually got the point yet that Fifa requires football clubs and associations to have no governmental control, interference or engagement.  These proposals don’t even start to contemplate that issue yet.

Arsenal of course do have some consultation with supporters, but it is fairly feeble in my experience, and the club by and large, in the last two years at least, has been doing anything it feels like doing without consulting fans at all.   Of course, it consults on some matters, but only those that suit it.

Maybe all the big-time owners will agree to let the government dictate how they run the club.  Maybe some will simply put the club up for sale.  But can you imagine the owners of Manchester City, to take one example, letting the government start poking their noses into exactly where all that money comes from?.


3 Replies to “English Independent Football Regulator: Supposing the clubs just say “no””

  1. This seems like yet another diversionary tactic from an increasingly desperate govt, trying to find something to gain instant popularity, admittedly a bit different from pot-holes, war against low-travel zones in neighbourhoods, forcing local authorities to increase Council tax in order to transfer blame etc etc.)
    They still have not brought forward the long promised protections for tenants against no-fault evictions, never mind the compensation for Post Office, Grenfell Tower or Windrush victims. I do not expect the government to have the slightest clue about what a regulator role would be – the record on regulation is pretty crap anyway, whether its big power or water companies or the media.

    Even if a scheme had been worked out, the chances of relevant legislation before the next GE seem remote.

    How many Ministers for Sport etc. have talked about something similar for football and other major sports? Too many to recall.

    In any case, they don’t play football at Eton, do they?

  2. After White, it is Tomyasu who signed a new contract.
    Arsenal are doing their work and keeping the team together.
    Well done

  3. I’m also hoping this is all a good sign that Arteta is here for the long haul. Spain I fear is always going to be his final destination, but hopefully not for a long time.

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