Former-prime minister and now UN envoy Gordon Brown has spoken out on the risks facing football and the need for a regulator to “speak for supporters.”
Brown, who was chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007 and prime minister from 2007-2010, is the latest political figure to back the creation of an independent regulator – one of the key recommendations of the Fan-led Review.
“The game is at risk of moving further away from its original purpose of being part of a network of people at the grassroots and instead becoming a money-making exercise for a few billionaires,” Brown said yesterday.
“Many of the people coming into football from abroad are only interested in the Premier League but the Premier League only thrives because we have so much commitment and voluntary efforts going on at the grassroots.”
Brown argues that the regime of self-regulation in English football has failed and that a future independent regulator would improve standards of ownership across the game.
“We need to remind people that our football clubs are like families, not like casinos or gambling joints,” he said.
“The regulator would be someone who is speaking for supporters and is chosen because they are a voice of the fans. They would be someone who has an appreciation of the game continuing beyond ‘this ownership or that ownership’ and instead building for the future.”
Back in December, Culture minister Michelle Donelan told Parliament that the long-awaited Fan-led Review of Football Governance White Paper – which includes recommendations for the creation of an independent regulator in football – was “imminent”.
Donelan said the White Paper would be ready “in a matter of weeks” and progress is expected when Parliament returns on Monday 9th January.
Brown said: “Football clubs are places where at their best people come together, cultivate teamwork, build team spirit, find role models, and celebrate all that a community has in common.
“This is something worth preserving and the best way to do that is to press for an independent regulator.”
Back in December a new report by Tracey Crouch MP, chair of the Fan-led Review of Football Governance, was launched in Parliament. It showed how football would benefit from its recommendations which have still not been implemented 12 months on. You can download the Fan-led Review: One Year On here.