Fan-Led Review Fair Game Event

In November 2021, the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance made detailed recommendations to safeguard the future of English football. Walsall FC gave evidence as part of the Review. On Wednesday 20 April 2022 I attended a “Fair Game” event in Parliament to support the full implementation of the Fan-Led Review. 

The ten summary recommendations were:

A: To ensure the long-term sustainability of football, the government should create a new independent regulator for English football (IREF).

B: To ensure financial sustainability of the professional game, IREF should oversee financial regulation in football.

C: New owners’ and directors’ tests for clubs should be established by IREF replacing the three existing tests and ensuring that only good custodians and qualified directors can run these vital assets.

D: Football needs a new approach to corporate governance to support a long-term sustainable future of the game.

E: Football needs to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in clubs with committed EDI Action Plans regularly assessed by IREF.

F: As a uniquely important stakeholder, supporters should be properly consulted by their clubs in taking key decisions by means of a Shadow Board.

G: Football clubs are a vital part of their local communities, in recognition of this there should be additional protection for key items of club heritage.

H: Fair distributions are vital to the long term health of football. The Premier League should guarantee its support to the pyramid and make additional, proportionate contributions to further support football.

I: Women’s football should be treated with parity and given its own dedicated review.

J: As an urgent matter, the welfare of players exiting the game needs to be better protected — particularly at a young age.

The Government had pledged to offer a full response to the review by Spring 2022, but have not yet done so. Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported that according to a leaked letter, legislation to implement the Report’s recommendations of an independent regulator and stronger director tests will not feature in this year’s Queen’s Speech, and will instead be delayed until the 2023-24 Parliamentary session. Many clubs are in a precarious position and urgently need governance systems to be reformed.