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The simple truth is that football cannot be trusted to regulate itself and run the game in the interest of its most important stakeholders - the fans.


The so called big six clubs would be off to join a European Super League given half a chance because the money they would earn from joining would dwarf the current riches they earn from the English Premier League, but the matches would largely become television events because of the travel costs involved. You can be sure that as with the school holidays, airlines would fleece fans to the hilt.


Having spent a startling £800m in the January transfer window, the focus of the Premier League clubs involved would be on an upward spiral of even bigger transfer fees and higher wages whilst at the same time and particularly in the current economic climate the cost of attending matches will continue to rise and once in the stadium the cost of food and drink is already way out of line with what you would pay anywhere else. When Liz Truss became Prime Minister she made it clear she was opposed to independent regulation in football and that made me fear for the future direction of the game we all love.


Fortunately, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as a Southampton supporter has a different view and the Government is poised to issue a white paper on football and the central tenet will be the introduction of independent regulation into the top 5 tiers of the football pyramid from the Premier League to the National League.

The regulator will require every club in the top 5 leagues to be licensed and clubs will have to satisfy the regulator in a number of ways.

Clubs will be required to have sufficient funds and follow a new corporate governance code to ensure financial stability.


Owners and directors will face tough tests to make sure they are suitable people to run a club.


Clubs will have to keep a minimum standard of fan engagement in key decisions around its cultural heritage. Added to that, teams will only be able to compete in tournaments that have been approved by the regulator so hopefully that will kill off the prospect of the divisive European Super League.


Importantly, there will be a specified requirement for the Premier League to increase financial support for clubs in the lower divisions.


One issue I would like to see the independent regulator tackle head on is the splitting off ofstadium ownership from the football club. For the overwhelming majority of fans, the home ground is as important to them as the team itself. Players come and go but the stadium is a constant.


What has happened at both Charlton Athletic and Coventry City is unacceptable and the split of the stadium from the team is what has in Charlton’s case in particular led to a series of disastrous ownerships. This practice must be stopped now and if it is left to those responsible for the current governance of the game nothing will change.


I already have my letter ready for the regulator as soon as he or she is appointed!


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