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Government to introduce independent football regulator

The government have said they will establish an independent regulator in football after endorsing recom­men­dations made in the fan-led review into the men's game.

The regulator will have power to sanction clubs in English football who break financial and other rules.

The Premier League said it "recognises and accepts the case for reform" but that a regulator "is not necessary".

A new owners' test will be introduced and legislation will give fans more say in the running of the game.

It comes after the review made 10 recommendations to government on how to improve football governance last year.

The review was chaired by former sports minister Tracey Crouch following a number of high-profile crises in the sport, such as the failed European Super League and the collapse of Bury FC.

Crouch called the government's endorsement of the review "an enormous step forward" but also said that the unclear timeframe for making the changes was "worrying".

No direct timeline for implementing the changes has been announced but the government said a white paper - policy documents which set out proposals for future laws in detail - will be published in the summer.

The new regulator will be backed by laws which allow it to hand out punishments and have financial oversight of clubs, meaning it can investigate and gather information.

It will also apply the new "enhanced" owners' and directors' test which will replace the current tests carried out by the Premier League, Football League and Football Association.

This follows Roman Abramovich's ongoing sale of Chelsea amid government sanctions and a Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of Newcastle United in October 2021 among others. Both ownerships were criticised by Amnesty International UK.

The new test will be implemented before acquisition but also on an ongoing basis.

It will include a new 'integrity test' for owners and executives and stronger investigations before a purchase, including sources of funding.

"I am exceptionally pleased [the government] has accepted or supported all the strategic recommendations of the review, including committing to legislation for a statutory independent regulator which will regulate financial resilience as well as ownership of clubs," Crouch said in a statement to PA news agency.

"This is an enormous step forward in providing much-needed reform for football."

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