Major review into English football will look at giving fans a greater say

22 April 2021, 22:31 | Updated: 22 April 2021, 22:40

The review has been ordered in the wake of the European Super League debacle
The review has been ordered in the wake of the European Super League debacle. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A major review of the way English football is run will consider a raft of measures including examining how to give fans a greater say in the running of their clubs.

The review, ordered in the wake of the European Super League debacle, will also consider creating a new regulator and changing the "fit and proper person test" for owners.

Interventions to protect clubs' identities - including their location and team badges - will also be considered.

READ MORE: All six English clubs set for European Super League have withdrawn after fan protests

READ MORE: European Super League founder says it 'cannot go on' after England's 'big six' pull out

Ministers hope the doomed breakaway bid by the so-called Big Six teams will prove to be a "watershed moment" for the national game, creating a new environment where fans have a greater say.

Former sports minister Tracey Crouch will lead the work, which could result in new laws being passed to improve the governance of the sport.

The widely condemned European Super League proposals involving Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham were the catalyst for the launch of the review.

But it will examine wider questions about the way the sport is run, looking at examples such as the collapse of Bury Football Club, which went into administration last year having been expelled from the English Football League in 2019 due to financial problems.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Football begins and ends with fans and we have seen that passionately displayed this week. It must be a watershed moment in our national game.

"We must capitalise on this momentum. Clubs are the beating heart of their local communities and this important review will help put football on a surer footing for the future where supporters' voices are heard."

The review will also look at the way the game is run overseas, for example in Germany where commercial investors must hold no more than a 49% stake in Bundesliga clubs, giving fans a major say in their running.

It will examine whether the tests for existing owners and directors are fit for purpose and consider whether additional criteria should be added.

Oversight of foreign ownership of clubs and whether it is sufficient to protect the interests of the game will also be examined.

Ms Crouch said: "Football means so much to so many people in this country and my review will be firmly focused on the fans.

"It will look closely at the issues of governance, ownership and finance and take the necessary steps to retain the game's integrity, competitiveness and, most importantly, the bond that clubs have with its supporters and the local community."

In addition, the review will investigate whether administrators could better scrutinise clubs' finances on a regular basis and examine how money flows through the football pyramid, including solidarity and parachute payments and broadcasting revenue.

Ms Crouch's review will eventually be presented to Mr Huddleston and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, along with the Football Association.