One of two long awaited white papers has been published by the UK government. The first paper addresses the structure of British football and how it is managed. The review was headed by member of parliament Tracey Crouch and it addresses changes to the current pyramid structure of football clubs.
The main objective of the paper reveals that a football regulator will be established to mitigate financial risk from the existing football structure. It will also empower football fans with a greater say in the running of clubs.
Rishi Sunak on British football
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commented: “Since its inception over 165 years ago, English football has been bringing people together, providing a source of pride for communities and inspiration to millions of fans across the country. Yet despite the success of the sport both at home and abroad, we know that there are real challenges which threaten the stability of clubs both big and small. These bold new plans will put fans back at the heart of football, protect the rich heritage and traditions of our much-loved clubs and safeguard the beautiful game for future generations.”
Football fans count
The review will guarantee that football fans will have a greater say in the strategic running of their clubs. It will require club owners to consult with supporters on matters that relate to team names, badges, colours and design of home kits. This came about after fans expressed their displeasure on a number of issues including the rebranding of clubs such as Cardiff City’s colour change from blue to red and the renaming of Hull City’s to ‘Hull Tigers’.
Fan influence will impact betting
Betting sponsorship and wagers on sportsbetting will be impacted by the increased influence of supporters. Furthermore the publication of the white paper with proposed reviews to the gambling act is expected any day now. A number of fan lobby groups have been active in calling for changes in the influence that football clubs have on betting and iGaming. When for example Aston Villa and Everton signed new partnerships with operators this season, supporters expressed their disapproval.
It is being reported in the British press that premier league clubs will phase out gambling sponsorship to secure new terms.
European Super League
The football white paper also addressed the controversy of the European Super League and plans for a breakaway by a select group of premier league and european elite club members have been shelved.
The government recommends decision-led solutions by those running the clubs. The white paper states that there is a high financial risk in leagues, with a combined net debt of clubs in the top two divisions of the European Super League reaching £5.9 billion by the end of the 2021.
Football is nothing without its fan base
Lucy Frazer MP, newly appointed DCMS Secretary, said: “Our plans will ensure that clubs manage their finances in a responsible way, and prevent unscrupulous owners from treating clubs as expendable commodities rather than the beloved community assets that they are. This is about protecting the beautiful game, making sure we remain home to the strongest league in the world, and safeguarding clubs big and small across the country.”
Lucy Frazer MP is the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. In her new remit she is responsible for overseeing the publication of the White Paper review.
Frazer is the fourth Secretary of State to lead the Gambling Act reforms. Former incumbants Michele Donelan MP and Paul Scully MP who occupied the role at DCMS have taken on newly created roles at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.
UK Betting and Gaming Council calls for publication of White Paper