Fair Game, a growing group of football clubs, today called on all political parties to publicly back a new independent regulator, ahead of a debate on the topic in Westminster Hall on Monday.
Fair Game represents the views of 15 professional clubs so far which include League One clubs Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge United along with Championship Luton Town.
Portsmouth have been approached on whether they plan to join up with Fair Game and new CEO Andy Cullen is expected to review this week.
The Fair Game group will be working together to find long-term solutions to governance structures, sustainability, integrity and community issues currently in the game, and will be giving evidence to the Tracey Crouch fan-led review on Monday.
As an organisation it has brought together the nation’s finest football academics, those with lived experience in the industry, and supporters trusts to work together and develop realistic long-term solutions to the problems the game faces.
Fair Game believes the regulator should be given broad powers and the teeth to make a difference, and with it the government funding to truly deliver.
The remit of the regulator could include:
- operating and running a new robust Owners and Directors’ Test;
- imposing financial rules to ensure clubs are financially sustainable;
- allocating funding to clubs’ that perform well;
- monitoring clubs’ financial well-being in real-time and stepping in when needed; financially incentivising good equality standards and good fan engagement;
- and protecting the core cultural assets of clubs, (eg badge, location, name, nickname) through a licensing system.
Niall Couper, director of Fair Game, said: “Football plays a vital role in our communities. The heritage and traditions are part of the social fabric of towns up and down the country.
“Yet, some owners are playing Russian roulette with the futures of their clubs with scant regards for the communities and traditions that they are putting at risk.
“The football authorities have had decades to get it right and failed to deliver.
“We need an independent regulator to finally sort it out and make our national game fit for purpose.
“Our politicians need to wake up, smell the coffee and commit 100% to make it happen.”