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Premier League changes would not ‘kill the golden goose’ says MP

By AFP
07 December 2021   |   8:22 pm
The chairwoman of a fan-led review of English football on Tuesday rejected claims that its recommendations risked "killing the golden goose" of the globally successful Premier League.

The chairwoman of a fan-led review of English football on Tuesday rejected claims that its recommendations risked “killing the golden goose” of the globally successful Premier League.

The government commissioned the ground-breaking review, led by former sports minister Tracey Crouch, in April after the European Super League scandal.

Crouch told lawmakers the proposals, which include the creation of an independent regulator, would encourage growth in the game despite fears expressed by some bosses.

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has said there is a risk from over-regulating, while Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said the adoption of the proposals would be a “huge act of self-harm”.

But Crouch told lawmakers on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee some changes in football governance were necessary.

“I don’t see it as killing the golden goose,” she said.

“The whole point of what we’re setting out is about long-term sustainability and the report as a whole is about enabling confidence in the system.

“What we have at the moment is a system that is subject to vulnerabilities. If you remove some of those vulnerabilities through better regulation that actually encourages growth and investment in English football.”

Crouch also encouraged Premier League clubs to introduce a transfer levy in the January transfer window.

The review highlighted the benefits to the grassroots game of a levy of up to 10 percent on Premier League clubs signing players from overseas or from top-flight rivals.

But the idea has been heavily criticised by some Premier League bosses, including Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear, who compared it to Maoist collective agriculturalism.

Crouch said the league could introduce a smaller levy immediately and strengthen its position in the negotiations and warned bosses a review under a future, the more left-leaning government may take a harder line than the one she chaired.

“I didn’t say what (the levy) should be or where it should go. But frankly, football could make this decision tomorrow,” she said.

“They could actually decide they are going to put in a three percent — for example — levy, starting in January, and that it was going to go to grassroots and player welfare.

“That would, to continue a football analogy, effectively put them 1-0 up and park the team bus in front of goal.”

Premier League clubs argue the imposition of a levy would make it tougher for them to compete in the transfer market and point to the fact there is already a four percent levy on deals that supports former players and the academy system.

Crouch told the committee she expected the Premier League to “push back very, very hard” on the central review recommendation — the creation of an independent regulator with statutory powers even though some clubs were in favour of it.