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West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan says he is totally opposed to the idea of an independent football regular, claiming that the plan to introduce the governing body is a “terrible idea”.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Richi Sunak announced that a move to establish a new entity with oversight for the beautiful game in England had been approved, saying: “These bold new plans will put fans back at the heart of football, protect the rich heritage and traditions of our much-loved clubs and safeguard the beautiful game for future generations.”
However, David Sullivan was quite to muster a response to the government’s new strategy by getting in contact with Sky Sports directly after the announcement to air his views on the subject.
Independent regular a bad idea according to Sullivan
David Sullivan, who is never one for holding his tongue, let rip when discussing Sunak’s plans on Sky Sports, saying: “A football regulator is a terrible idea. The government are terrible at running everything.
“Look at the mess this country is in. We pay the highest taxes ever for the worst service from the worst government that I’ve seen in my lifetime.
“The regulator will have a huge staff that football will have to pay for. It will be a total waste of money. I bet it grows in size and cost every year.
“The Premier League is the best run and most successful league in the world. It gives more to the lower leagues, the PFA and grass roots than any other top league in the world. It’s a fantastic export.
“Why does an incompetent government think it will improve things? In every area this government is involved in, it has added staff for a worse service.
“The government is doing this for a PR win. They think it will be good PR to be seen to be backing the ordinary football fan and smaller clubs but I bet you it won’t get them a single extra vote. I believe in free enterprise, not government interference.”
The plan for an independent regulator of English football has been confirmed by the UK government.
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— Ollie Bayliss (@Ollie_Bayliss) February 23, 2023
Government White Paper proposes changes
The directives listed in the new White Paper for independent football regulation make for interesting reading and include items that would block English clubs from joining any breakaway competitions, like last year’s controversial and eventually foiled, European Super League.
Also included were plans to implement new protections to stop clubs falling into financial ruin, while more stringent owners and directors’ tests are also on the table as fresh protective measures.
Greater fans representation and stronger powers to impact decisions made at their clubs are also a focus, while one of the biggest alterations could be the wider distribution of the Premier League’s profits to clubs and competitions further down the English football pyramid.
While the plans for a new governance strategy have been broadly welcomed, Sullivan isn’t the only stakeholder to have expressed concerns. Most of the top clubs in the Premier League are believed to oppose the idea of a new watchdog for the spot, with fear of over-interference and mico-management rumoured to be rife. However, it does look as though a new regulatory body for football will be introduced soon.