Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Government outlines preferred structure of new independent football regulator [September 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 7 September 2023.

A new independent regulator for men’s elite football will be set up as a standalone body to make sure it is operationally independent from the game and can adequately protect clubs’ and fans’ interests.

  • Government reaffirms commitment to independent regulator to protect the future of English football for fans and communities
  • New regulator will be standalone body, sitting outside existing football authorities and government
  • More detail on how it will fit with existing football structures announced

The new independent regulator for men’s elite football will be set up as a standalone body to make sure it is operationally independent from the game and can adequately protect clubs’ and fans’ interests.

Following a consultation process with clubs and the football authorities, the Government is today confirming it is ‘minded’ to set up the new regulator independent of any existing body, but that all options remain under review. It will continue to work with and engage industry and fan groups as these proposals develop.

Despite the global success of English football, there have been more than 60 instances of clubs being put into administration since 1992, and the Government is stepping in to protect football clubs as vital community assets.

The Government will make sure the regulator has a tightly defined scope focused on four major areas: financial resources, suitable owners, fan interests and approved competitions.

To minimise the risk of regulatory overlap and burden, and reflecting the vital existing roles of the FA and the leagues in the growth of English football, the regulator will adopt a cooperative approach, collaborating and sharing information with existing football bodies.

This will include identifying areas of responsibility, coordinating rules and processes with industry bodies to minimise gaps, duplication or conflicts, and to avoid confusion and burden for clubs.

The Government’s preferred option on financial redistribution between the leagues continues to be a football-led solution. The financial health of clubs and their role as community assets is of paramount importance and the government urges the football authorities to come to a swift agreement in the interests of clubs and fans.

The majority of respondents to the consultation support the introduction of new backstop powers for the regulator, to be used if a solution is not found in future financial redistribution agreements. Work is ongoing on a backstop system that involves targeted powers to intervene and facilitate an agreement on financial redistribution as and when necessary.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

Our football clubs are the lifeblood of communities and the envy of leagues around the world. We want to see them protected for fans now and in the future.

Today we outline our plans to make sure the new regulator for football is independent, and remains true to its central mission to safeguard these community assets and help the beautiful game continue to grow in England.

Following the publication of its football governance white paper in February, the Government has carried out a series of detailed consultations with the football industry, gathering further views from fans, clubs and the football authorities on how the measures in the white paper should be implemented.

The Government’s consultation response has now been published. Legislation to support the introduction of an independent regulator of football governance will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Today’s publication follows a letter from the Government encouraging The FA, Premier League, EFL and PFA to formalise a Technical Consultation Group, which would see them meet before the summer transfer window, on a formal basis, every year to agree immigration criteria for clubs’ access to players across the globe.

The proposed group would help ensure English clubs have access to the very best talent from a wider pool of international players. It would also protect the prospects of homegrown players by ensuring a significant number of playing minutes are given to English players.