Football regulator: Tracey Crouch MP criticises Premier League’s lack of support
The Premier League has been criticised for a lack of support for an independent football regulator by Tracey Crouch MP.
The former sports minister and author of the fan-led review into English football governance made the comments at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing today.
Crouch praised the Football Association and English Football League for embracing reform in the game, but said the Premier League had not followed suit.
“Newspaper reports suggest both the EFL and Premier League agree that more money needs to flow through the pyramid,@ she said.
“I therefore find it confusing why the Premier League doesn’t support an independent regulator to help ensure that there is more security and confidence in that money going down the pyramid.”
Crouch said dealing with the Premier League had been “challenging”, adding: “As sports minister I developed very good relations with all of football and I’ve found it quite surprising how difficult it has been to have conversations around something designed to support the long term financial sustainability of the nations greatest sport.
“I’ve found it difficult that throughout the process of the fan-led review that we’re being told one thing by one part of the game to the discover the public commentary completely different.
“Ultimately it’s disappointing in terms of its progress which is a shame because the people who suffer are the game itself and the fans.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters will have the opportunity to respond to the comments from Crouch when he gives evidence to the committee later this morning.
“I hope we’ll get to a point where there is greater consensus and more public support for the direction of travel in the fan led review and the governance white paper,” Crouch said.
“I’m very happy to say publicly that the EFL, who represent 72 of the clubs, have been engaged pretty much from the start. The starting position may have been one of cautiousness about the idea of independent regulation but I think they’ve been savvy to recognise that this is the direction of travel and they certainly got on the train very quickly.
“I’d say the FA has made progress since the appointment of the new chair Debbie Hewitt, who I think has come in and been a breath of fresh air. But I haven’t seen that willingness to engage and recognise the challenges and vulnerabilities of football governance from the Premier League.”
The government confirmed in its white paper last month that it was pressing ahead with plans to form an independent football regulator.
It is expected to focus on ensuring financial sustainability and compliance, but is unlikely to be up and running before next year.