The EFL throws support behind an independent regulator
The EFL have accepted the need for independent regulation of football for the first time ahead of the publication of the government’s fan-led review next week in a dramatic move that will increase tensions with the Premier League.
In a letter from chairman Rick Parry to the review’s chair Tracey Crouch MP, which has been seen by Sportsmail, the EFL call for the creation of a new regulator to go alongside a greater redistribution of finances to lower division clubs from the top-flight.
The EFL’s surprise support for an independent regulator represents a significant change of position from Parry, who earlier this year described such demands from fans as ‘knee-jerk,’ and will irritate the Premier League who have fought tooth and nail to oppose any outside interference in the sport.
The Football League has given its backing to adding an independent regulator across football
EFL chairman Rick Parry wrote a letter to government and supported independent regulation
The new approach is understood to stem from the collapse of Project Big Picture, which included a commitment from the big clubs to pass on 25 per cent of future Premier League TV deals to the bottom three divisions, and frustration at the lack of progress made by the subsequent Strategic Review, which has yet to report a year after it was set up.
In his letter to Crouch Parry calls on the government to put redistribution and regulation at the heart of any governance review, as well as restating his desire for a financial re-set including a 75 per cent/25 per cent split of TV revenue and the abolition of parachute payments, moves he claims would reduce the financial chasm between the Championship and the Premier League, as well as eroding the losses of all League One and Two clubs and ensuring their survival.
‘Redistribution and regulation are inseparable,’ Parry writes.
‘We are therefore very happy to engage in a constructive debate about the scope of regulation required and how our work can dovetail with that of the proposed regulator.
‘Without additional regulation I fear that any extra money will be frittered away and without extra money, the additional regulation simply won’t work, as the majority of clubs will simply be insolvent.
MP Tracey Crouch leads the government’s ‘fan-led’ review of football
‘We believe the introduction of a 75/25 split of pooled broadcasting revenues and the adjustment of merit payments, in order to halve the existing gap between the top two divisions, will help stimulate rational financial behaviour in the Championship. As a result, there will be no need for parachute payments; no-one ever needed a parachute to fall off a step!’
Parry also criticises the Premier League for failing to deliver the Strategic Review, which was supposed to report before the end of last season, but was greatly delayed after the collapse of the proposed European Super League last spring, which reduced the power of the Big Six clubs.
‘We were encouraged that this matter was to be taken forward into the Premier League Strategic Review but, 12 months on, we have had no meaningful engagement,’ Parry writes.
EFL wants 25 per cent of pooled media revenue to be shared with Football League clubs
‘To be frank, it seems unlikely to us that any agreement will be reached without some form of external intervention and until it is resolved satisfactorily, we are not in any position to reconsider our own approach to financial distributions or our relationship with the National League, as there is simply not enough money to go around.
‘We believe that you need to take a clear position on financial redistribution. Regulation without redistribution will take us nowhere and your report is now the only external stimulus on the horizon.’
Crouch’s fan-led review is expected to recommend the creation of an independent regulator, but it will be up to the government to put such plans into action.