Tony Lloyd: ‘Fix football regulation before it’s too late’

Labour is calling on the government to fix football regulation before more clubs change hands or go under, as Rochdale A.F.C. misses out on £1million this season. 

Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, said, “Football clubs like Rochdale are the heart of communities in a town likes ours and are a great source of pride. 

“I welcome the publication of the football white paper but it’s long overdue. Delays have already cost lower league clubs like Rochdale millions of pounds this season. Many clubs are on the brink and can’t wait another two years for a fair deal. 

“We can’t have any more dithering – the government should bring in the legislation needed to establish a proper regulator urgently.” 

As the football white paper is published this week, Labour is calling on the Government to bring in a regulator as quickly as possible. 

In the 15 months it’s taken the Government to re-word the fan-led review, Derby County nearly went under, Oldham Athletic was relegated, Chelsea changed hands and Manchester United, Newcastle, Liverpool and Bournemouth were all put up for sale. The Premier League and EFL still haven’t reached a deal on finances. And now a European Super League 2.0 is back on the table. 

Labour is warning that there are clubs already on the brink, that can’t wait until the 2024/25 season to get a fair settlement. Fair financial distribution must be sorted before a regulator comes into force. The failure of the Premier League and EFL to reach an agreement on football finances means lower league clubs will miss out on £365m this season, and clubs in the North and Midlands have already lost out on £200m. This includes Rochdale A.F.C. which will miss out on £1million. 

Labour has long called for football to be put on a stable footing, with an independent regulator and proper say for fans. The fan-led review of football governance was published over a year ago. It made a suite of recommendations for better governance in football, including stronger owners and directors tests, fairer distribution of funding down the football pyramid, and a seat at the table for fans, through a shadow board and ‘golden share’ in significant club decisions. Labour called for the recommendations to be implemented in full. 


Notes for editors:-

By comparing the existing model for the 22/23 season and what it would have been had the FLR been implemented (using the 75/25 model as proposed by the EFL), the EFL estimate that:

• The total combined distributions of the two professional leagues (PL & EFL) to clubs would be £3.22 billion.

• 75% of this money would be distributed to the 20 Premier League clubs – in total this would equate to £2.42 billion. While this is a reduction from the current £2.78 billion it is still more than any other league in world football distributes to its members by some considerable margin.

• 25% of this money would be distributed to the 72 EFL clubs – in total this would equate to £805m. An increase of £365m in the amount re-distributed from the Premier League to the EFL without the fan-led review.

• There would be no parachute payments to clubs relegated from the Premier League.

• The EFL would introduce merit payments into the Championship (rather than give all clubs the same amount as now). This would be on a 2:1 ratio meaning the top club would receive double the amount received by the bottom club (in order to further close the gap between the Premier League and Championship). We would also propose that the same 2:1 ratio be adopted within the Premier League.

• As a result, the club finishing bottom of the Premier League would receive approximately £82m and the club finishing top of the Championship would receive £36m. A gap of £46m – half of the current gap – with the £44m reduction in the gap being equivalent to a current Year One parachute payment (therefore negating the need for such a payment to exist).

• There would also be enough additional revenue for to cover the current annual operating losses of the 48 clubs in Leagues One and Two, which currently stand at £62m per annum.