Fan-led review calls for independent football regulator and transfer ‘stamp duty’

Premier League clubs should pay a transfer “stamp duty” to be “distributed among the pyramid”, the fan-led review of football governance has recommended.

The wide-ranging review, which was promised by the Government as part of its manifesto for the 2019 General Election, has also called for the creation of an Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF).

“To ensure financial sustainability of the professional game, IREF should oversee financial regulation in football which should be based upon prudential regulation in other industries recognising that football is obviously sport but also now big business,” the report says.

The review also recommends protecting “key items of club heritage” through “Golden Share” veto powers. This would enable supporters’ groups to have a say on key issues and would have prevented the Premier League’s ‘big six’ clubs from joining a breakaway Super League tournament.

In total the review delivered 47 recommendations — such as a standardised owners and directors test and greater financial regulation — but the proposal of a new “solidarity transfer levy” is among the most radical.

“Clearly, this will be a significant development and accordingly the rate of levy, whether player loans are captured, the scope of the levy and its distribution should be finalised after consultation,” the report says.

“This levy could raise significant sums for the pyramid. Transfer fees can be opaque, but based on estimated values in the last five years, Premier League clubs have spent in the region of £9.9bn on transfer fees.

“If a 10 per cent levy had been applied in that period, excluding transfers from EFL clubs, an estimated £160 million per year could have been raised for distribution.”

The report also calls for the reform of the parachute payments system and said a IREF could “impose a solution” on the Premier League and EFL if the two organisations could not find a compromise. “The Review concluded that although the intention of parachute payments is laudable the system should be reformed as part of wider reform of distributions.”

A panel chaired by the former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch heard more than 100 hours of evidence across six months, with contributions from supporters of over 130 football clubs.

Crouch said: “The Review has formed the firm belief that our national game is at a crossroads with the proposed (European Super League) just one of many, albeit the most recent and clearest, illustrations of deep seated problems in the game.

“For those who say that English football is world leading at club level and there is no need to change I would argue that it is possible simultaneously to celebrate the current global success of the Premier League at the same time as having deep concerns about the fragility of the wider foundations of the game.

“It is both true that our game is genuinely world leading and that there is also a real risk of widespread failures and a potential collapse of the pyramid as we know it.”

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