Closed petition Introduce an Independent Regulator for Football in England by December 2021

The Government should use the recently established fan led review of football to introduce an Independent Football Regulator in England to put fans back at the heart of our national game. This should happen by December 2021.

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1. Like a referee, an independent regulator would safeguard our beautiful game impartially. This doesn’t currently exist.
2. An Independent Regulator could protect the game against another attempt at a super league or other efforts to put money ahead of fans.
3. Water companies, energy providers and the media all have an independent regulator. Football matters to millions and should also have a regulator of its own.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

142,932 signatures

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 14 June 2021

Watch the petition 'Introduce an Independent Regulator for Football in England by December 2021' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 7 June 2021

Football clubs are the heart of local communities and have a unique social value, which is why we are proceeding with our commitment to undertake a wide ranging, fan led review of football governance.

Read the response in full

As announced in the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Oral Statement on 19 April, Tracey Crouch MP is chairing a fan-led review of governance. She will engage extensively with fans to ensure their experiences are at the centre of the review. Fans are the lifeblood of the sport, and the Government is committed to ensuring that their views are at the heart of the review.

The Government has published the Terms of Reference and the members of the advisory panel, including representatives of fans, the women’s game, and non-league.

The first meeting of the advisory panel has been held, and fan engagement meetings with the Chair and panel are underway. The Government has announced that there will be an interim report from the review before the summer and a full report in the autumn.

The review will be a comprehensive examination of the English football system looking at issues of ownership, governance and funding through the football pyramid. This will include assessing calls for the creation of a single, independent football regulator to oversee the sport’s regulations and compliance, and its relationship with the regulatory powers of The Football Association and other football bodies.

It would not be right to pre-judge the recommendations of the review but the Government looks forward to receiving its report later in the year and acting on its recommendations accordingly.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Other parliamentary business

Share your views on the governance of football with MPs

On Monday 14 June, MPs will debate petitions relating to the governance of football, including the petition you signed. The debate will be led by Petitions Committee member Jonathan Gullis MP, and MPs from all parties can take part. The Government will send a Minister to respond.

Ahead of the debate, MPs on the Petitions Committee would like to hear your views on how football is run in England, and what actions you feel the Government should take to protect the 'football pyramid'.

Share your views by completing this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/KTPB3R/

The deadline for responses is 9am on Monday 7 June.

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs who are appointed by the House of Commons to consider petitions started on https://petition.parliament.uk and public (paper) petitions.

Find out more about the work of the Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

Follow the Committee on Twitter for real-time updates on its work: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions

MPs debate petitions relating to football governance

On Monday 14 June, MPs debated petitions relating to football governance, including the petition you signed.

Watch the debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zNR1ypT6iw
Read the transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-14/debates/21061454000001/FootballGovernance

The debate was led by Petitions Committee member Jonathan Gullis MP and Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism, responded for the Government.

What you told us about how English football is run

Ahead of the debate, the Petitions Committee ran a survey of petitioners to hear your views on how English football is run, and steps the Government could take to protect the 'football pyramid'. Many thanks to the over 9,300 of you who responded.

Read a summary of what you told us: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/36793/default/

How do petitions debates work?

Petitions debates allow MPs from across the House to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petitions debates cannot however directly change the law, or result in a vote on whether to implement the request of the petition.

MPs question the Government on the final report of its 'fan-led' review of football governance

On Thursday 25 November, MPs questioned Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, on the final report of the Government's 'Independent Fan-led Review of Football Governance'. This followed an Urgent Question by Jo Stevens MP.

Read MPs' questions and the Minister's responses: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-11-25/debates/E02AFDC3-CFBF-40B1-B9FC-A214394C2F4B/IndependentFan-LedReviewOfFootballGovernance

Read the final report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fan-led-review-of-football-governance-securing-the-games-future

In his response, the Minister confirmed that the Government would formally respond to the report "in the new year". He also confirmed the Government "endorse in principle" the report's central recommendation of a "strong, independent regulator" for football, as called for by this petition.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries MP, also made a statement to the House on this matter.

Read the Secretary of State's statement: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-11-25/hcws417.

What are Urgent Questions?

If an urgent or important matter arises which an MP believes requires an immediate answer from a government minister, they may apply to ask an urgent question.

The relevant Government Minister has to come to the Chamber to explain what the Government is doing on the issue raised. The Minister will then usually take questions on the subject from MPs.

Independent regulator for football to be created by the Government

On Monday 25 April, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP announced that the Government will create an independent regulator for football in England, as called for by this petition.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the Minister confirmed that the Government endorses each of the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, which published its final report in November. Following the statement, the Minister took questions from MPs.

Watch the Minister's statement: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/dfa3dd63-f1dd-4a9d-9ae9-0cd8ad647777?in=16:36:54

Read the transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-04-25/debates/8168922D-82A0-476A-B45F-0443CF28AE27/FootballGovernance

In the statement, the Minister said that the new regulator will set a license condition on clubs requiring them to consult fans on key decisions. He also said the regulator will establish a new 'owners and directors test' to "ensure that only good custodians and qualified directors can run these vital community assets".

The Government has said it will also:

  • Take steps to protect clubs' stadia, colours and badges
  • Call on the Premier League to increase financial support for clubs in lower leagues
  • Launch a dedicated review of women's football in England
  • Add the FIFA Women's World Cup and UEFA Women's European Championships to the listed events regime, meaning they will continue to be available on free-to-air television

Find out more about the Government's response to the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-fan-led-review-of-football-governance/government-response-to-the-fan-led-review-of-football-governance

The Minister said the Government will set out further details of how it plans to implement these changes in a policy document known as a 'White paper', to be published "in the summer".

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