I agree that football governance must keep evolving if it is to keep pace with the challenges of the modern game. The global commercial attractiveness of English football is something to be celebrated, but not at the expense of supporters and their communities.
I welcomed the publication of the independent Fan-Led Review of Football Governance. I understand that the report was based on over 100 hours of engagement with Supporters’ Trusts, fan groups, women’s football representatives, football authorities, club owners, players representatives, and underrepresented groups, alongside over 20,000 fans responding to an online survey. I would like to extend my gratitude to the former Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, for compiling this report which serves as a thorough and detailed examination of the challenges faced by English football. It is a demonstration of the financial problems being caused by incentives within the game and reckless decision making by some clubs and owners, both of which are unsustainable and threaten the future of the game. It is clear that current oversight of the game is not up to the challenge of solving the structural challenges and action must be taken.
I am encouraged that the Government was so quick to indicate that it will consider the detailed recommendations of the report ahead of providing a full response in Spring 2022 – which will include a plan of action across Government. Ahead of that formal response, however, I warmly welcome the Culture Secretary’s announcement that the Government has endorsed in principle the primary recommendation of the review: that football requires a strong, independent regulator to secure the future of our national game.