Football needs an independent regulator to prevent what happened at Chelsea and other clubs from happening again, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said.
Dorries told MPs on Thursday that the government was committed to bringing forward legislation to create a new regulator “very soon”.
An independent regulator was one of the recommendations of the fan-led review published last November, with further details on the regulator’s mandate to be included in a white paper to be released this summer.
Dorries warned those who oppose an independent regulator that a regulator is definitely coming and told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Selection Committee: “We have reached a crucial point with football.
“There can be no more Macclesfield, no more Derby and no more Chelsea. We need a fit and suitable person test for football club owners. And it happens. (Opponents of a regulator) may not like it, but it is happening.
The government is to issue a new license authorizing the sale of Chelsea, replacing the one it imposed on the club in March which allowed it to continue operating under strict conditions after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned.
The Russian billionaire’s assets have been frozen, with Downing Street claiming to have proven his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The current license expires on May 31. Abramovich’s lawyers and the government are expected to remain in talks over how to deal with the Stamford Bridge club’s £1.5billion debt to the Chelsea owner, with the government seeking legally binding assurances that Abramovich will. does not profit from the sale of Chelsea in any way.
A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly reached a deal to buy Chelsea for £4.25billion earlier this month.
Dorries told the DCMS committee she could not comment further on Chelsea as it was a “live negotiation”.
The Secretary of State said it would be the regulator’s responsibility to prevent clubs being used as vehicles for money laundering and sports washing, and to prevent any further attempts to form a Super League dissident European.
Dorries said the regulator would be entirely independent of the Football Association, at least to start with.
“It’s important that it’s completely independent, and it’s an independent organization,” she said.
“Can I look to the future and say that as it works it might sit under the wing of the Football Association or something? I don’t know, it’s discussions on the future.
“I know it’s a conversation bubbling below the surface, I don’t know. But what I do know is that initially, when the regulator is established, and when it is put in place, it will be independent.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said last week that his organization had given the government “a very strong argument” about how the regulator could sit alongside its governing body and “within the extended family of the FA”.
He added: “I think we see the benefits that we can use some of our knowledge, and we can intertwine that with the regulatory aspects that we do, but (it) should have a great degree of independence.”