The MP for Chesterfield has supported calls for the government to not delay the implementation for the fan-led review in to football governance.
It comes after the government announced their response into the independent report that was released in November.
The government admitted that change was needed and that “the free market will not fix football” but have failed to commit to calls for the review recommendations to be implemented in full.
Proposals within the review called on an independent regulator to oversee financial regulations at all levels and also for clubs to be given “special protections” so to value and recognise their asset to the community. These have all be accepted by the government. However, it is expected that this will take some time for measures to implemented at all levels.
The Football Supporters’ Association is calling on the government to take immediate action to avoid situations like the collapse of Bury FC or administration of Derby County to happen again. They are calling for the government to put their verbal commitments into action at a time when there are “serious concerns around the fragility of football finances”.
Speaking in the House of Commons on the debate on this issue, Toby Perkins MP said “Anyone who has spoken to directors and owners of either Chesterfield Football Club or Staveley Miners Welfare Football Club will be very much aware that while there may be monstrous profits in the premier league, at every level below that there is huge indebtedness, and football as a sport requires benefactors to be constantly writing another cheque. That model is broken. I fear that what we have heard today is that this is being kicked into the next Parliament. I suspect that the Premier league clubs listening to this will be reassured that they still have quite a bit of time before they are going to have their feet held to the fire.”
He then asked the Minister “Can he assure us that before this Parliament is over, in 2024 or whenever that may be, we will actually see reform on the statute book, and this will not just rely on the manifestos of parties at the next election, because it should be dealt with during this Parliament?”
Toby also said on this issue “It is important that we don’t see clubs disappearing from any tiers of English football. We know how important they are to communities so to see a situation like Bury or Macclesfield Town again would be heart breaking. But without change it is inevitable.
The depth of the pyramid is a huge strength of English football and many of the players in the England national team started out at smaller EFL clubs, but unless there is a fairer distribution of funds, club owners will continue to chase the billions on offer by reaching the Premier League and risk bankruptcy chasing that dream, whilst creating a model that constantly requires a benefactor to put their hand in their pocket.
It is good that government accept change must happen but their announcement of a white paper three years suggests that change will be coming very slowly. Chesterfield FC are now in the hands of their fans and I hope will continue to be run in a sustainable way. But ensuring that the future of clubs who are so important to their communities cannot be gambled away by an irresponsible owner is a crucial step to securing the future of football in this country. That is why I am joining the Football Supporters’ Association calls for the review to be implemented in full and fast.”