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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.

More details

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

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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

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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MPs debate governance and financial sustainability of football clubs in England

On Monday 7 November MPs debated governance and financial sustainability of football clubs in England. The debate was led by Shabana Mahmood MP.

What are Adjournment debates?

Adjournment debates give a backbench MP the opportunity to raise an issue and receive a response from a government minister. They do not end in a vote.

Find out more about Adjournment debates.

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Plans to protect football fans and their clubs set out by Government

On Thursday 23 February the Government announced its plans to introduce new rules for professional football clubs, including a new independent regulator for the men's elite game.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a 'White Paper' (a policy document) which sets out their plans.

A Minister from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport gave a statement about the Government's plans in the House of Commons.

How is the Government planning to protect football fans and their clubs?

The Government has said it will establish a new independent regulator for the men’s elite game in law, and that this regulator will:

  • Oversee the financial sustainability of clubs
  • Ensure fans have a say in how their club is run
  • Implement a new licensing system for professional clubs
  • Approve sales or relocations of stadiums
  • Have powers to block English clubs from joining breakaway leagues

These plans follow the Government accepting recommendations from the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance report.

The Government's Fan-Led Review of Football

The review that prompted this White Paper was launched in April 2021 and was triggered by several events which affected the game including the covid-19 pandemic, financial problems for clubs and attempts to create new break-away leagues.

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MPs debate football regulation

On Wednesday 8 November, MPs took part in an adjournment debate on football regulation. During the debate MPs discussed the Government's plans to introduce legislation to create an Independent Football Regulator to protect the future of English football for fans and communities.

The debate was led by Matt Rodda MP. Sir John Whittingdale MP, The Minister for Media, Tourism and Creative Industries, responded for the Government.

What are Adjournment debates?

Adjournment debates are general debates which do not end in a vote. They give a backbench MP the opportunity to raise an issue and receive a response from a government minister.

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MPs examine football governance and financial negotiations between leagues

A group of MPs called the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee held an evidence session looking at football governance and financial negotiations between leagues on Tuesday 16 January.

At the evidence session MPs questioned the Chief Executive of the Premier League and the Chair of the English Football League.

The session followed reports in December 2023 of a stalemate in discussions between the Premier League and the English Football League over an agreement to redistribute funds between leagues (the ‘New Deal’). It also followed the Government’s announcement of a new independent football regulator which will be able to act on issues of financial regulation compliance.

What is an evidence session?

An evidence session is when a group of MPs - called a committee - invite experts and people with experience of a certain issue to answer questions about it. This helps the committee understand more about the issue.

What is the Culture, Media and Sport Committee?

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is a group of MPs from different political parties that looks into the work of the Government department responsible for Culture, Media and Sport. It is not part of the Government.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is a select committee.
Find out how select committees work.

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