Petition calling for independent regulator in English football passes 100,000 signatures

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher are among players to launch the petition

More than 100,000 people have signed a parliamentary petition, launched by ex-footballers, calling for an independent regulator in English football.

Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker are among 23 ex-players and journalists to undersign an open letterexternal-link to fans.

They say April's European Super League attempted breakaway demonstrates the need to reform the game's governance.

It must now be considered for a parliamentary debate.

"As football fans, we were appalled by the attempt to set up a European Super League," reads the letter, which has also been signed by Jamie Redknapp and Micah Richards.

"It was a direct threat to the integrity of the game; destroying the concept of sporting merit and open competition.

"Supporters came together with one voice to oppose the cynical power-grab by a group of wealthy owners. The furious protests were heard and the breakaway fell apart.

"Now we must make sure this never happens again. Without swift and direct intervention, the return of a European Super League will be a constant threat."

In addition to an independent regulator, the petition also calls for government legislation which would stop Premier League clubs from attempting to abandon the football pyramid.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham all withdrew from the European Super League within 48 hours of its launch after fans protested.

The move was criticised by the UK government, which has brought forward a fan-led review into English football that will consider ownership, finance and supporter involvement in the game.

"We welcome the fan-led Government review of the game and hope it leads to lasting change on an array of important concerns; including co-ordinated strategies to deal with racism, supporters' representation within clubs, LGBTQ issues, ticket costs and the distribution of income," the letter added.

"All of those aims can be realised if we take decisive action now."

Speaking on Friday, sports minister Nigel Huddleston said the fan-led review into football will look into the possibility of an independent football regulator.

"We are looking at things and considering things such as a regulator," he told BBC Sport. "It's in the mix, it's certainly something that I know some people see great benefit from. It is in the mix, there's no doubt about it at the moment."

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters added: "It's appropriate that football comes up with new proposals around fan representation and consultation.

"We have to be open to regulatory change but I don't think the answer is an independent regulator. I would defend the Premier League's record in regulating its clubs."

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