New UK sports minister Stuart Andrew says he “absolutely gets” the need to reform football, amid reports Liz Truss’ Government could step back from a commitment to legislate for an independent regulator.
Andrew, who has replaced Nigel Huddleston following the change in Conservative Party leadership, met with the Football Supporters’ Association on Tuesday morning.
The FSA’s chief executive Kevin Miles was on the fan-led review panel whose central recommendation last November was the creation of an independent regulator for football.
The Government gave its backing to a regulator to help ensure the sustainability of football club finances in a formal response to the recommendations published in April this year, but The Times reported last week that Truss and her new Government could be prepared to step back from those commitments.
Andrew appeared to allay some of the concerns of those keen to see legislation brought forward for an independent regulator, as he tweeted: “I absolutely get the need for football to be reformed to make it sustainable in the long term. This will be at the heart of our next steps on football governance.”
Miles, speaking at a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference on Monday, said: “The only people I come across now who are not in favour of independent regulation of football and the thrust of that report are ideologues – probably political weirdos who have an ideological resistance to the idea of state involvement or independent regulation interfering with the market, and that’s a pretty narrow end of the spectrum at the moment.
“And then the others are those with a blatant vested interest, because I don’t think that the threat of a European breakaway Super League has entirely receded.”
The fan-led review was commissioned by the last Government in April last year in the wake of the Super League scandal, where six Premier League teams signed up to play in the breakaway competition before swiftly withdrawing amid fan protests.