Soccer has long been a national obsession for the United Kingdom, and now the government is getting involved.
The U.K. will appoint an independent regulator to oversee the Premier League, English Football League, and the Football Association, the governing body that oversees soccer leagues in England, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.
- The regulator’s purview will include ensuring that team owners and directors meet various criteria, such as the ability to fund the team on an ongoing basis.
- The official will also have the authority to investigate and gather information on club finances.
The move was one of 10 recommended by a fan-led review of U.K. soccer governance published in November by former sports minister Tracey Crouch.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that “we are taking forward the fan-led plans to secure the future of our national game,” while touting a $292.9 million government investment in improving soccer fields and facilities, which made its first disbursements last month.
The reforms will also bestow governance power on fan groups, largely around “heritage issues” such as changes to stadiums, logos, names, and kits.
There could be further financial reforms to alter the distribution of funds to teams lower in the pyramid system.
The review from November proposed a 10% fee on Premier League player transfers that would support lower-tier clubs, which would have generated an estimated $203.7 million over the last five years.