UK to unveil new rules to stop big clubs starting European Super League

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The Government is about to set out measures to put fans at the heart of the game and prevent the bankruptcy of much-loved clubs.

The changes are also designed to stop clubs forming “breakaway” leagues such as the disastrous attempt to launch a European Super League.

A key aim of the new regulator will be to ensure clubs are “managed responsibly” and there is no repeat of financial collapse suffered by clubs such as Bury FC and Macclesfield FC.

To avoid going bust, clubs will be required to demonstrate “good financial practices” and have resources in place to deal with any cash flow problems. The new requirements are intended to ensure core assets such as a stadium are not sold off.

And to prevent a repeat of the European Super League fiasco, the criteria for any new competition will have to be decided in consultation Football Association (FA) and fans.

Together, the measures are designed to ensure the Premier League remains the “world’s foremost league” while safeguarding fans’ interests.

The planned changes are intended to be the most significant in English football since the formation of the Premier League in 1992. But there will be disappointment if the proposals will not unlock new funding for lower league clubs.

Clive Betts, the Labour chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for football, said a “redistribution of the finances within the game” is needed so “all the money isn’t concentrated at the top of the game”.

He warned that more clubs that survive on a “shoestring” will go to the wall or be forced to sell stadiums unless they can access funds.

The Sheffield South East MP said: “A lot of clubs could be at risk because they are just not financially viable. And in some of the worst cases, some of the worst problems are in the Championship because clubs are just desperately trying to get to the holy grail, get to the Premiership, and sometimes they over-stretch themselves.”

The need for an independent regulator was a key conclusion of a fan-led review of chaired by former sports minister Tracey Crouch. To raise funds for the wider game, it proposed a “solidarity transfer levy” which would be paid by Premier League clubs when buying players from overseas or from other leading clubs.

The Government accepted the case for an independent regulator in April but has been under fire for not setting out a timetable for the creation of the regulator.

Damian Green, a Conservative member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “It’s about time we saw the White Paper. I think the recommendation for an independent regulator will be good for the game in the long term, and will be welcomed by fans of clubs at all levels.”

Kevin Brennan, a Labour member of the committee, said the Government would be judged on whether it “genuinely involves fans in the future of the game”.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, has also pushed for action.

He said: “Every week that passes reveals the risks to the sustainability of football and the inability of the game to regulate itself effectively. An independent statutory regulator is a matter of urgency.”