The Football Fan Led Government Review has published its report containing wide ranging recommendations for the biggest shake up in regulation and governance in the game for 30 years.
Supporter groups including the PST and the Football Supporters Association have campaigned for change and improvement to the way the game is run for many years and we welcome and support this report and its recommendations.
The first recommendation is the establishment of a new Independent Regulator for English football (IREF), who will oversee financial regulation and new tests for owners and directors.
Taking inspiration from the way the financial sector is regulated, IREF will apply new tests of financial stability to clubs to try to break the cycle of gambling on overspends that cause so many clubs to fail.
The inconsistent approach to the Owners and Directors Test between the Premier League, the EFL and the FA will be codified into two tests across the whole professional game – one for Owners and one for Directors.
Prospective owners will be tested to ensure they have robust business plans, the resources to fund their clubs, and a history of integrity in their business affairs. We particularly welcome, given our history of owners, the involvement of the Home Office and National Crime Agency in testing whether prospective owners are involved in criminal activities.
Directors will be tested to ensure they have the skills and experience to run football clubs, along with training for those who aspire to such a role.
These tests will be carried out at regular intervals to ensure that fitness is continually monitored. They are a huge step forward in ensuring the fitness of those that own and run football clubs and we can only imagine how useful they would have been to our club in the past.
Another key recommendation is the protection of key heritage elements of clubs via a Golden Share. The heritage elements of the colours, name and stadium location of Portsmouth Football Club are protected by a similar mechanism we have called the Heritage Share, giving the PST a veto on changes to those elements. The new recommendation goes beyond this by adding protection to the ownership of the stadium, the competitions in which the club plays and the club badge. It also recommends that this share should be owned by a democratically established Community Benefit Society, such as the PST.
The report also criticises parachute payments from the Premier League which distort the Championship with such damaging consequences and urges the Premier League and EFL to come to an agreement on a new more equitable mechanism of sharing the proceeds of football. The example of a potential solidarity levy on transfer fees looks especially promising with the sums raised capable of delivering huge benefit to lower leagues and grassroots football.
These measures, along with others in the report, will benefit the game enormously. We congratulate and thank Tracey Crouch and her panel for the detailed work and careful investigation that has gone into this report. We particularly thank the panel for inviting the PST to give its own evidence on the numerous examples of governance failure that led to the collapse of Pompey a decade ago.
We now call upon the Government to endorse these recommendations and to commit to bringing forward the legislation to put them into effect, and we will write to our city MPs to express our support for them and to ask for theirs as well.