Gary Neville heads Manifesto for Change with calls for independent regulation in English football
Gary Neville says football has proven incapable of governing itself and distributing money fairly and has joined forces with a group to call for independent regulation of the game. The group, which includes former FA chairman David Bernstein, ex-FA executive director David Davies and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, have signed a 'Manifesto for Change', which claims the "dysfunctional and damaging existing structure" of football has highlighted the English game's inability to act as a unified voice during the coronavirus crisis.It puts the blame down to the financial power of the Premier League and the lack of credibility and ineffectiveness of the FA as a governing body.
The manifesto determines the "national game operates within a model that is fundamentally flawed", proven they say by the demise of Bury last year and Wigan entering administration in July.Saving the Beautiful Game - Manifesto for Change' key recommendations
Create a new regulatory body for football that is independent of the current structure of the game
Decide on new ways of distributing funds to the wider game based on a funding formula and a fair levy payable by the Premier League
Set up a new and comprehensive licencing system for the professional game
Review causes of financial stress in the English Football League, including parachute payments and salary caps
Implement governance reforms at the FA which are essential to ensure it is truly independent, diverse and representative of English football today
Liaise with supporters' organisations
Learn lessons from abroad and champion supporter involvement in the running of clubs
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Neville said: "The principle is that we don't trust that football can govern itself and create the fairest deal for all, whether that's the Premier League, EFL clubs, non-League clubs or the fans. It has been proven over this past six months that football has struggled to bring everyone together and proven to be incapable over a 25-30 year period of transforming the money in the game into something that works for everybody. I want the best Premier League in the world, but I want sustainable football clubs. There is enough money in the game to be able to have an elite Premier League, a sustainable and competitive EFL, money passed down to non-League and grassroots and where fans can get a fair deal. That's where an independent regulator, with that spirit at the heart of it, can come in and say 'that's not fair'.
Neville has criticised the time it took for the money to arrive, adding he would be "embarrassed" to be a member of the Premier League."I don't want to take all the money off the Premier League," Neville said. "I want the best players and the best managers but they've spent £1.2 billion in a pandemic and it took six months for them to pass £50m down to the EFL."I would be embarrassed to be part of the Premier League as a member if it had taken me six months to sort out a rescue package for the EFL that need it when they're spending that level of money on transfers. It's not good enough."
In response to the manifesto, an FA spokesperson said: "The Football Association plays a vital role in governing and regulating English football and our league structure and ecosystem is the envy of the world. We work hard to maintain this system, with a clear focus on the wider game; not just serving the elite level, but the whole football pyramid and throughout the grassroots game.As English football's governing body, it is our responsibility to work together to determine what is best for our game as a whole, with full dialogue between all key stakeholders. As we have said this week, any changes have to be done in the right way and with a long-term perspective in mind. We are not interested in any changes that are designed to serve one area of the game, nor will we entertain ideas that are primarily in the interests of the few.
"If the Government would want to amend and increase our responsibilities and powers to further improve the system, then would be happy to discuss that with them, and of course we would consult with the leagues in the process. But most importantly, any changes must benefit clubs, fans and players across the English game.The FA has a clear direction and ambitious targets to ensure English football continues to be a force for good across every level of the game."https://www.skysports.com/football/news ... h-football