Culture secretary

Fans will help craft new rules to govern football, announces Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

Fans and players will help craft new rules to govern football, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced.

A “group of experts” to advise the government will be appointed this weekend.

And Mr Dowden promised the review would lead to real change in the way clubs are run.

He said: “This weekend I will announce the composition of the panel of experts, which will include players, managers, regulators and, of course, fans. This is serious consideration. I know the people want to see change and this review will bring that.”

The review is to be chaired by former sports minister Tracey Crouch.

North East MPs led the way by calling on the government to deliver on its promise to hold a ‘fan-led review’ of football, as outlined in the 2019 Conservative election manifesto.

This is partly because of the controversy over the way Newcastle United have been run under Mike Ashley’s ownership.

The issue has come to light after six Premier League sides failed to launch a breakaway European Super League.

Mr Dowden said: “It is essential that the fans play an important role in the fan-led review…the chairman will be engaging extensively with supporter trusts and fan groups over the coming weeks, but I understand that it won’t work for everyone, so there will also be a consultation process, which we will define.”

An interim report is expected in the summer and another report containing the findings of the review is due out in the fall.

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He said the government would be willing to introduce new laws if the review concluded they were necessary.

“I fully hope and expect to accept the recommendations, and if these require legislation, we will find the time to do so.”

A number of North East MPs have called for laws to give fans control of clubs.

They include MP for Jarrow, Kate Osborne; Mary Kelly Foy, MP for Durham City, and Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck.

They backed a Commons amendment which called on the Government ‘to bring forward a People’s Football Bill, with a 50 per cent plus one shareholding scheme, modeled on the German Football League, giving fans control majority of Premier League and English Football League clubs.”

While that wouldn’t entirely rule out the creation of a separatist league, it would make it impossible unless fans support the idea.

In practice, the proposal by Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to form a European Super League has drawn fury from fans, as well as many within the sport.

Their proposed league would include 15 “founder clubs”, although only 12 have been named – six in England, three in Spain and three in Italy. Others had to be added.

The plan was scrapped following a huge backlash, but it could return in some form. There have already been proposals for a European Super League.