Football regulator needed because of Premier League clubs’ ‘greed’ and ‘arrogance’

Football regulator needed because of Premier League clubs' 'greed' and 'arrogance'
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A football regulator is needed because Premier League clubs are “arrogant”, says Bolton chair Sharon Brittan.

She was addressing a select committee on Parliament’s Football Governance Bill on Tuesday.

The legislation would grant powers to a body, independent of government and football authorities, to oversee clubs in England’s top five men’s tiers.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said he was supportive of the bill’s objectives but was concerned about “unintended consequences”.

The phrase was also used in the Premier League’s statement about the proposed bill in March.

When pressed for an example, Masters said financial controls for 116 clubs could stop investment and “slow down the development of English football”.

Bolton’s Brittan was asked about Masters’ comments and criticised the top flight for its “greed”.

“I think they have conducted themselves poorly – I don’t think they have presented themselves in the right way,” she said.

“I think they are arrogant, I think they think they are an island on their own and sailing off and forgetting 14 clubs in the Premier League have come from the English Football League (EFL).

“‘Unintended consequences’ – I’d love to sit down with Richard. They are just words, there are no arguments behind the words.

“In my opinion this is back to greed, envy, jealousy. I cannot comprehend how someone can view this through that lens when we are a football pyramid. What we do as custodians affects this country and beyond.”

Bolton are in the play-offs after finishing third in League One and were last in the Premier League in the 2011-12 season.

The legislation has been developed after a fan-led review took place following issues with financial mismanagement and the proposal of the European Super League.

The review said a regulator would be needed to ensure the financial stability of the men’s professional game.

It will have powers revolving around three core objectives: improving financial sustainability of clubs, ensuring financial resilience across the leagues and safeguarding English football’s heritage.

The EFL has largely been in favour of the regulator and chairman Rick Parry underpinned his support during his hearing.

“We view it positively,” Parry said. “It’s going to be a tougher environment – football needs a tougher environment. We’ve had 30 years to get this right and we’ve failed.”

Also speaking at the hearing was Steve Parish, co-owner and chair of Crystal Palace. He said: “If we could have a regulator that made all of the right decisions all of the time and wasn’t lobbied by the big clubs more than the smaller clubs then, of course, it may be a benefit.

“But I am severely worried about the potential unintended consequences and the power of the big clubs to dominate the debate.”

Brighton’s chair and owner Tony Bloom added he too was concerned.

“The relationships between the Football League and the Premier League, I think, have got a lot worse since there was talk about regulating football,” Bloom said.

“I think, overall, although there has been difficulties over the years I think it has worked well.

“But ever since the Football League have realised, if we can’t get a deal they know there will be a regulator, things have not worked out.

“There [are] unintended consequences and I think it is much better for football – the Premier League, the Football League, the National League, the FA – to work things out themselves.”

The bill was introduced in March but will need to go through parliamentary process before it is made law.

Related Topics

  • Bolton Wanderers
  • Premier League
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