English Football Needs Independent Regulator Says Neville Lewis & Bernstein


English Football Needs Independent Regulator Says Neville Lewis & Bernstein

English football needs an independent regulator to solve its “crisis”, says a group of key figures including Gary Neville and ex-Football Association chairman David Bernstein.

Ex-Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis and the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, are also part of the group.

They have issued a manifesto for change titled ‘Saving Our Beautiful Game’.

It comes after the Premier League rejected ‘Project Big Picture’ reforms led by Liverpool and Manchester United.

“If the EPL [English Premier League] is to perform its role as the pinnacle of the domestic game, its responsibilities and financial contribution to the wider game need to be more carefully defined,” said the manifesto.

“It also needs to be complemented by an effective and independent body to oversee the financial regulation of the game.

“The FA lacks credibility and has proved to be largely ineffective as a governing body. It has not modernised and is not sufficiently independent.”

It added that “core issues” that need to be dealt with include:

  • Financial disparity and unsustainability
  • A power structure that is fundamentally out of balance
  • The shortage of BAME coaches and managers at the top level, a general lack of diversity and the “exploitation” of clubs and fans

The group said it is clear “football has shown itself incapable of self-reform”.

‘Project Big Picture’ was put forward amid clubs trying to deal with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Its suggestions included reducing the Premier League from 20 to 18 clubs and scrapping the EFL Cup and Community Shield.


In addition, the English Football League would have received 25% of all future TV deals, which would have been negotiated jointly, plus a £250m bail-out.

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However, it would also have seen more power transferred to the so-called ‘big six’ Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.

The controversial plans were rejected at a meeting of the 20 clubs in England’s top flight on Wednesday, with the members agreeing to “work together” on a new “strategic plan” for the “financing of English football”.

And, while they did agree on a £50m rescue package for League One and Two clubs, there was no decision over financial support for the Championship.

English Football Needs Independent Regulator Says Neville Lewis & Bernstein


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