The group, which includes former FA chairman David Bernstein, former FA executive director David Davies and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, signed a “Manifesto for Change,” which claims the “structure existing dysfunctional and damaging ‘football highlighted the English. the inability of the game to act as a unified voice during the coronavirus crisis.
He blames the financial might of the Premier League and the FA’s lack of credibility and ineffectiveness as a governing body.
The manifesto determines that “the national game operates in a fundamentally flawed model,” as proved by Bury’s demise last year and Wigan’s entry into administration in July.
Saving the Beautiful Game – Key Recommendations of the Manifesto for Change
- Create a new football regulatory body independent of the current game structure
- Decide on new ways to distribute funds to the wider game based on a funding formula and a fair levy payable by the Premier League
- Set up a complete new licensing system for professional gaming
- Examine the causes of financial strains in the English Football League, including parachute payments and salary caps
- Implement governance reforms at the FA, which are essential to ensure that it is truly independent, diverse and representative of English football today
- Liaise with supporters’ organizations
- Learn from abroad and defend supporters’ involvement in club management
Talk to Sky Sports News“Said Neville:” The premise is that we are not convinced that football can rule itself and create the fairest deal for everyone, be it the Premier League, EFL clubs, non clubs. -League or supporters.
“It has been proven over the past six months that football has struggled to bring everyone together and has been unable over a 25 to 30 year period to turn gambling money into something that works for everybody.
“I want the best Premier League in the world, but I want sustainable football clubs.
“There is enough money in the game to be able to have an elite Premier League, a sustainable and competitive EFL, money passed to non-leagues and grassroots and where the fans can get a fair deal.
“This is where an independent regulator, with that mind at the heart of it, can step in and say ‘it’s not fair’.
“I know we have a big task ahead of us, but we have a group of people who love football and want the best for football. ”
The professional game reform proposals in England – called Project Big Picture – were rejected by Premier League clubs on Wednesday, despite broad support from the English Football League.
The Premier League has also announced plans for a ‘bailout’ for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs – consisting of grants and interest-free loans totaling £ 50million on top of solidarity payments from £ 27.2 million already advanced.
Neville criticized the time it took for the money to arrive, adding that he would be “embarrassed” to be a member of the Premier League.
“I don’t want to take all the money out of the Premier League,” Neville said. “I want the best players and the best managers, but they spent £ 1.2bn in a pandemic and it took them six months to spend £ 50m at the EFL.
“I would be embarrassed to be in the Premier League as a member if it had taken me six months to come up with a bailout for the EFL which needs it when it sends this level of money over the transfers. It is not good enough. . ”
Responding to the manifesto, an FA spokesperson said: “The Football Association plays a vital role in the governance and regulation of English football and the structure and ecosystem of our league is the envy of the world. . We are working hard to maintain this system, with clear direction. on the game at large, not only at the service of the elite, but also of the whole football pyramid and throughout the base match.
“As the governing body of English football, it is our responsibility to work together to determine what is best for our game as a whole, with full dialogue between all key stakeholders.
“The bad governance that exists in all of football and in particular in the Football Association is still a problem… football has resisted change. “
“As we said this week, any change has to be done in the right way and with a long-term perspective. We’re not interested in changes designed to serve any area of the game, and neither will we. ideas which are primarily for the benefit of a few.
“If the government wishes to change and increase our responsibilities and powers to further improve the system, it would be happy to discuss it with them and of course we would consult with the leagues in the process. But above all, any changes must benefit clubs, fans and players across the English game.
“The FA has a clear direction and ambitious goals to ensure that English football continues to be a force for good at all levels of the game.”
Bernstein: The regulator must resolve the football crisis
Bernstein, who was president of the FA for three years from January 2011, said Sky Sports News the balance of power in English football “is out of balance” and argues that an independent regulator is the only way to save the game from a current “crisis”.
He said he had sympathy for the FA but criticized football for its “resistance to change”.
“It is clear that football is in a state of crisis. It’s a crisis that has been developing for years, if not decades, ”said Bernstein.
“It’s clear that COVID has brought things to a head, but it’s not something new. This is something that has been talked about for many, many years.
“The strength of the Premier League and the disparity in wealth has led to a schism between the Premier League and the rest of football and created pressures on the rest of football that are just not sustainable and are evident at the moment.
“And secondly, the bad governance that exists in football and in particular in the Football Federation is still a problem.
“The balance of power in the national game between the governing body of the Football Association and the Premier League is out of balance.
“Football has resisted change, whether it was a personal interest, whether it was a direct interest or for some reason it has resisted change.
“We have concluded that the only way to achieve substantial changes in football is to appoint an independent regulator and this can only be done with the support of a parliament because this regulator is going to need some serious muscles to make the full range of changes. ”
The other members of the group are Tory MP and former Sports Minister Helen Grant, former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, TV presenter and former Olympic heptathlete Denise Lewis and sports lawyer Greg Scott.
The group also commissioned a survey of English football fans which found 76% agreed that a radical change in governance was needed and 78% believed the English club model was not sustainable without change. .
Their report also expresses its concern at the lack of diversity within football and its commitment to assess whether sufficient resources are made available to develop women’s football and football for people with disabilities.