A report into the current state of English football has concluded that an independent regulator needs to be established to protect the game from further crises.

Notts County Tracey Crouch Report

By Amos Murphy

Report finds football needs complete restructuring

Findings from a fan-led review into football by Tracey Crouch MP have found that significant changes are needed within the English game to protect it from stumbling headfirst into more problems.

Recommendations have been made to all areas of the game, from governing bodies, to financial authorities and even the clubs themselves.

Drastic repercussions are expected to hit English football, with a number of changes likely to affect non-league

Independent regulators needed to protect football

The review found that an Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF) should be established through an act of Parliament, which would provide IREF with the capabilities to ensure financial stability and enforce reform.

Further changes have been recommended to ensure the Premier League’s wealth is more evenly distributed through the pyramid, mainly through the introduction of a transfer levy imposed on deals involving clubs from the top-slight.

It was found that if a 10% levy had been placed on clubs’ dealings across the last five seasons, £160 million per year would have been raised to help aid financial stability for EFL, non-league and grassroots clubs.

Fans given more power in review

On the back of findings linked to the proposed European Super League and the Covid-19 pandemic, the report deduced that supporters ought to be given more power in the running of their club.

A ‘golden share’ has been suggested to provide supporters with a say in how their club is run, with veto powers assigned to a new or existing supporters’ group.

This ‘golden share’ would allow fans to vote on big decisions, like:

  • Changing a club’s badge or home colours
  • Building a new stadium
  • Moving the club’s location
  • Joining new non-FA or UEFA affiliated competitions

Whilst most areas of jurisdiction would not affect non-league sides, the move would help to protect the influence of clubs within the community.

Changes to 4G pitches

One major change that will impact sides currently playing in the non-league pyramid is the proposed approval for 4G pitches to be used in the EFL.

Currently, 4G pitches are permitted in the National League (Step 1) and below, yet if that club earns promotion to the Football League, a grass pitch much be installed prior to the season starting.

Buxton FC FA Cup

Credit: Buxton Football Club

Harrogate Town and Sutton United are two sides that have been forced to change, with this finding supposed to protect and stabilise the financial security of football clubs further down the pyramid.

However, this will only apply during an initial ‘grace period’, which gives a club sufficient time to replace their 4G pitch with a grass one.

Beer set to be allowed in National League stands

Furthermore, a pilot scheme is expected to be introduced at League Two and National League level on the consumption of alcohol on the terraces.

As it stands, teams in the fifth tier and above are not allowed to drink alcohol in the stands, yet those in the National League South and North below are.

A club like Dulwich Hamlet for example would be significantly impacted by the ban on alcohol consumption, should they earn promotion from the National League South into the fifth tier.

This move is designed to increase the financial sustainability of sides in the National League and above.

You can read the full report here.

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