Neville leading calls for independent regulation in English football

‘We don’t trust that football can govern itself’: Gary Neville teams up with ex-FA chairman David Bernstein and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to call for independent regulation in English football

  • Gary Neville is leading calls for independent regulation in English football 
  • Neville is part of a group which includes former FA chairman David Bernstein 
  • The group have published their ‘Manifesto for Change’ on Thursday
  • It comes after the Project Big Picture and the Premier League’s proposal failed

Gary Neville is leading a ‘Manifesto for Change’ which seeks to restructure English football following the failure of Project Big Picture. 

The former Manchester United captain, who co-owns League Two clubs Salford City, is part of a group which includes former FA chairman David Bernstein, ex-FA executive director David Davies and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham which is calling for independent regulation of the game.

Their manifesto, which outlines a series of reforms, was published on Thursday with Neville claiming football has proven incapable of governing itself and distributing money fairly.

Gary Neville is leading a ‘Manifesto for Change’ which seeks to restructure English football

Ex-FA chairman David Bernstein (right) is part of the group calling for independent regulation

Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham is also on board with the proposed reforms

Independent regulation has continually resisted by the FA and its member clubs but several teams have felt the the financial burden of coronavirus meaning it may now prove a more attractive proposition.

The manifesto claims the ‘national game operates within a model that is fundamentally flawed’, which they say was proven by Bury going out of business last year and Wigan entering administration in July.  

Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville said: ‘The principle is that we don’t trust that football can govern itself and create the fairest deal for all, whether that’s the Premier League, EFL clubs, non-League clubs or the fans.

‘Saving the Beautiful Game – Manifesto for Change’ key recommendations

  • Create a new regulatory body for football that is independent of the current structure of the game
  • Decide on new ways of distributing funds to the wider game based on a funding formula and a fair levy payable by the Premier League
  • Set up a new and comprehensive licensing system for the professional game
  • Review causes of financial stress in the English Football League, including parachute payments and salary caps
  • Implement governance reforms at the FA which are essential to ensure it is truly independent, diverse and representative of English football today
  • Liaise with supporters’ organisations
  • Learn lessons from abroad and champion supporter involvement in the running of clubs

‘It has been proven over this past six months that football has struggled to bring everyone together and proven to be incapable over a 25-30 year period of transforming the money in the game into something that works for everybody. I want the best Premier League in the world, but I want sustainable football clubs.

‘There is enough money in the game to be able to have an elite Premier League, a sustainable and competitive EFL, money passed down to non-League and grassroots and where fans can get a fair deal. That’s where an independent regulator, with that spirit at the heart of it, can come in and say “that’s not fair”‘. 

The publication of the plans, titled ‘Saving the Beautiful Game – Manifesto for Change’ comes after Premier League clubs rejected Project Big Picture – a proposal formulated by Liverpool and Manchester United.

Salford’s co-owner said he would be embarrassed to be a member of the Premier League

Top flight clubs proposed £50million bailout for League One and Two clubs but this has been rejected by the EFL with Championship sides demanding they be included in any plans.

Neville added he would be ’embarrassed’ to be a member of the Premier League and criticised the time it has taken for a bailout to be agreed, pointing to the £1.2billion Premier League clubs spent during the pandemic.

‘I would be embarrassed to be part of the Premier League as a member if it had taken me six months to sort out a rescue package for the EFL that need it when they’re sending that level of money on transfers. It’s not good enough.’




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