Tracey Crouch MP: 'Football regulator will not kill golden goose'

Fans with signs protesting
Fans protested after the failed European Super League

Tracey Crouch has rejected Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow's claims an independent regulator for English football (IREF) will "kill the golden goose".

Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear and Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish have also criticised the review.

"I don't see it as killing the golden goose," said MP Crouch.

Speaking at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing, the former sports minister added: "The whole point of what we're setting out is about long-term sustainability and the report as a whole is about enabling confidence in the system.

"What we have at the moment is a system that is subject to vulnerabilities.

"If you remove some of those vulnerabilities through better regulation that actually encourages growth and investment in English football."

An independent regulator and a transfer levy on Premier League clubs are two of the 47 recommendations made by the review.

Last month, Purslow told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 the "danger here is killing the golden goose, if we over-regulate a highly successful financial and commercial operation".

The regulator has been welcomed by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and is backed by Premier League chief Richard Masters on principle.

In addition, Crouch added that despite public opposition from some clubs, there were top-flight sides who supported the review recommendations.

"It's really important to stress that there are differing views within Premier League clubs and to that of the Premier League [itself]," she said.

"I know for sure that some clubs are in favour of an independent regulator underpinned by legislation.

"I know there are clubs that are not in favour of an independent regulator full stop, and that there are some clubs that are in favour of an independent regulator, but not underpinned by statutory legislation."

We won't be resistant to change - Premier League CEO Richard Masters on independent regulator proposals

Another issue discussed in the committee was how the regulator could impact football matters such as loaning players.

Crouch said: "Criticism from the chief executives made it clear, with a similar attack on this, that they hadn't read the report.

"We make very clear within the report that this isn't about football matters. If you want to buy a player on loan, buy a player on loan.

"This is not a government regulator, it is an independent regulator."

Leeds chief Kinnear compared the plans to Maoism and the Great Chinese Famine.

Crouch said she expects more backlash from Premier League bosses, adding: "They will push back very, very hard on the statutory aspect of the independent regulator and would rather it was a unit within the Football Association.

"Obviously, the other part of that we've seen some commentary on is around the transfer levy, which is interesting because it was actually proposed by a Premier League club."

The review highlighted the benefits to the grassroots game of a hypothetical levy of up to 10% on Premier League clubs signing players from overseas or from top-flight rivals.

Crouch said the league could introduce a smaller levy immediately and strengthen their position in prospective negotiations, and warned that a review under a future, more left-leaning government may take a harder line than the one she chaired.

"I didn't say what [the levy] should be or where it should go. But frankly football could make this decision tomorrow," she added.

"They could actually decide they are going to put in a 3% - for example - levy, starting in January, and that it was going to go to grassroots and player welfare.

"That would effectively put them 1-0 up and park the team bus in front of goal. I would encourage them to do that.

"As the Premier League, you could introduce it now and you could say you've done it, and it's done."

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