The British government’s fan-led review of English football has recommended a transfer tax on Premier League clubs as a means of redistributing money from the game’s elite level to lower divisions and grassroots.
A 10% tax on Premier League transfers could, according to the review, raise £ 160 million a year for clubs in lower leagues in one of a series of key recommendations from the 162-page report by MP Tracey Crouch.
The review has also called for the creation of an independent regulator to handle the game’s finances, club ownership and corporate governance, as well as a “golden share” for fans who would require supporters’ consent on certain issues.
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The report was designed to investigate problems in the game after fan protests over lower league clubs going into administration and controversial plans from the top clubs as the proposed outbreak of the European Super League.
One of 47 recommendations in the report states: “If a 10% tax had been imposed in the last five seasons, an estimated £ 160 million a year could have been raised for redistribution.
“This would be a relatively modest cost for Premier League clubs, but it could change the game annually for the rest of the football pyramid.”
In his preface to the report, Crouch said the panel’s “main recommendation” would be the formation of an independent regulator for English football (IREF).
“This would drive a licensing system for professional men’s football,” Crouch said. “The licensing terms should focus on measures to ensure financial sustainability through financial regulation and the improvement of club decision-making through topics such as a new corporate governance code for professional football clubs, improved diversity and better supporter engagement.”
The IREF, if approved by the British Parliament, will also introduce stricter ownership and director tests with the aim of providing clubs with greater protection.
Crouch told the Times that the recent takeover of Newcastle United from a Saudi-backed consortium would have been under more control if an independent regulator had been in place.
Julian Knight, head of Parliament’s sports oversight body, the Department of Culture Media and Sports Select Committee, said there was now a need for swift government action.
“The Secretary of State must look to introduce a football regulator in the next Queen’s speech. Today must mark the start of building a stronger, fairer and more sustainable international,” Knight said.
The Premier League was more cautious in its response.
“We recognize the vital importance of fans and the need to restore and maintain their confidence in the management of football,” it said in a statement.
“We also recognize the call for some form of independent regulation to protect the essential strengths of English football,” the league added.
“It is important for everyone that any reforms do not harm our game, its competitive balance or the level of current investment.”
Reuters data contributed to this report