Football club owners will have to pass an ‘integrity test’ as they will face greater scrutiny

Prospective football club owners are set to face greater scrutiny as they will have to pass an ‘integrity test’, after the government approved 10 key recommendations from MP Tracey Crouch following a fan-driven review.

  • A fan-led review of football governance will produce key changes in the sport
  • Now future club owners will have to pass an ‘integrity test’ amid intense scrutiny
  • This test would apply prior to the purchase of a team and on an ongoing basis
  • A new independent regulator will be put in place to apply the reinforced rules

Future football club owners will have to pass an ‘integrity test’ after the government approved 10 key policy recommendations from MP Tracey Crouch following a fan-led review of football governance.

A new independent regulator will be set up to enforce an improved owner and director test, including the ‘integrity test’ for all owners and directors to improve corporate governance and protect clubs and their fans against unscrupulous owners. The test would apply prior to the purchase of a club and also on an ongoing basis.

Above all, the regulator will be supported by new legislation, giving it the power to license and sanction clubs.

Future football club owners will have to pass an ‘integrity test’ after the government approved 10 key policy recommendations from MP Tracey Crouch (pictured above)

The fan-led review was launched in April 2021 with the aim of improving the governance, ownership and financial viability of football pyramid clubs following the collapse of Bury FC in 2019 followed by crises at Bolton Wanderers, Derby County, Macclesfield Town and Wigan Athletic.

The announcement comes as the government-commissioned independent study is published on Monday.

It highlights the widespread club culture that engages in unsustainable financial practices, placing the pursuit of success above sound fiscal management.

A fan-led review was carried out after Bury's 2019 collapse and other footballing crises

A fan-led review was carried out after Bury’s 2019 collapse and other footballing crises

This includes an over-reliance on owner funding, which can leave clubs dangerously exposed if their custodians stop cash injections.

Premier League and Championship clubs now regularly exceed UEFA guidelines not to spend more than 70% of club income on wages, leading to weak finances and balance sheets across the sector.

The government has also pledged to give supporters a voice in the management of their clubs with a white paper to be published this summer.

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