The long-awaited fan-led review of football governance white paper will be published “in the next few weeks”, a culture minister has said.
Stuart Andrew’s comments came after Conservative MP for West Bromwich East Nicola Richards said West Brom fans are “deeply concerned with the actions of the club’s ownership”, adding: “The owner took a £5million loan from the club to fund his other business. Money that is still yet to be repaid.
“The club has now taken a high-interest loan of £20m to fund day-to-day business secured against the club’s name and stadium. Will my right honourable friend bring forward the Government’s response to the fan-led review and introduce the regulator to give fans the power to stop owners abusing the club’s assets in this way and to penalise owners whose business decisions are not in the best interest of the football club?”
In a statement published on December 31, West Brom said the club’s owner had assured the board of directors the repayment will now be made early in the new year.
Andrew replied: “We will set out our plans for reform in the white paper, which will be published in the next few weeks.
“The white paper will include strong action on owners and directors to ensure they are suitable custodians for clubs and to avoid harm to fans and local communities like she has described.”
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan was urged to press Premier League clubs to share more cash with grassroots football.
Labour MP Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) told the Commons: “We are still waiting for progress between the Premier League and the English Football League over increased funding to the pyramid which could hopefully avoid another Bury Football Club or Derby County scenario.
“The minister and the Secretary of State just mentioned the white paper, but given that it may be 18 months before any new regulator might be operational, can the Secretary of State say what she is going to do in the interim, and ensure that football clubs are financially sustainable for the longer term?”
Donelan replied: “While we will publish the white paper in two weeks’ time, it is clear that football does not need to wait for the Government to act and both myself and the minister for sport have had several meetings trying to push that along.
“I urge football to act now, because it is in their interests as well to safeguard clubs and to protect the interests of fans.”
The Fair Game group of clubs, which supports the introduction of an independent regulator for football to make the English game at all levels more sustainable, welcomed the news.
Its CEO Niall Couper said: “Football is in crisis, it’s failed to get its house in order and we desperately need an independent regulator.
“Reckless, unregulated gamblers are pushing our clubs to the brink and we hope the hard work of Stuart Andrew and the DCMS addresses the flow of money down the football pyramid.
“The White Paper represents a huge chance to incentivise change.
“The regulator must oversee the flow of money through the game, share Premier League wealth with the rest of the football pyramid and reward well-run, sustainable clubs – rather than those gambling the future of our much-loved teams.”
Content provided by Radio NewsHub. Originally published on 2023-01-26 13:29:00.