Team of Sheffield football experts put forward vision to 'protect, enhance and secure' the future of the game and its heritage

A team of Sheffield football experts has put forward its vision to ‘protect, enhance and secure’ the future of the game and its heritage.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 12:12 pm
Former Sheffield MP Richard Caborn
Former Sheffield MP Richard Caborn

The working group from the ‘home of football’, led by former sports minister Richard Caborn and also including former players, fans, academics and reporters, has made a range of suggestions to the Government’s Fan Led Review of English Football.

Two key suggestions are to have a ‘fit for purpose governance structure which gives fans along with other parts of the “football family” a seat at the table not only to stop abuse but also to influence the future of the game and that governance proposals are accompanied by strong independent regulation though a comprehensive club licensing system which gives football - including the fans - the power to stop abuse and deliver a more equitable financial distribution of the game’s resources.

Mr Caborn said: “The central objective of the proposals is to protect, enhance and secure the governance and regulation of the English football pyramid. This has at its base more than 150 000 amateur clubs with over two million players up to its pinnacle, the Premier League, watched each week by over 14.5 million fans. The whole of that pyramid is steeped in the proud history of our game.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

“It’s a structure that delivers dreams for every young kid kicking a ball in the school playground believing that in the future he or she can play for their local professional club and even the England team.

" And fulfils dreams for the fan who passionately supports his or her team.

"The pyramid structure of football is worth preserving and protecting until something better comes along.

“By contrast, the rapidly - and rightly - aborted European Super League proposals were not just driven by greed and total disregard of the fans, and their importance to football communities, but had the potential to threaten the very structure of English football.”

Other proposals from the group include scrapping parachute payments, creating a regulatory body from within the game to protect the football pyramid and represent supporter interests and setting up a new and separate committee within the FA to police the game.

Strengthening the criteria of a Fit and Proper Person’s Test for club owners is also on the agenda. The group says preserving the pyramid structure of football is important particularly after the aborted European Super League proposals, which they were driven by ‘greed and total disregard of fans.’

The group’s main proposals are below:

 Create a regulatory body from within the game to protect the football pyramid and represent supporter interests.

 The regulatory body to decide on an equitable spread of broadcast revenue

 which all clubs have to accept as a licence condition.

 Set up a new and separate committee within the FA to police the game.

 Drop and restructure the existing Financial Fair Play regulations.

 Make future FFP measures binding on all clubs, without recourse to costly appeals, and speed up resolution of issues.

 Scrap parachute payments because they create instability and unsustainability with owners “chasing the dream.”

 Strengthen the criteria of a Fit and Proper Person’s Test for club owners.

 Create a “golden share” system with fan representation on club boards to stop abuses by owners of individual clubs.

 Establish a more independent FA via the inclusion of board members who are independent from clubs and organisations within the game.

 Install a compliance unit that is separate and at arm’s length from the FA.