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MP fears delays in implementing fan-led review could deny EFL clubs vital funds

Labour Party Conference 2021
(Image credit: Stefan Rousseau)

EFL clubs could miss out on up to £300million in income over the next two years if there are delays in implementing the recommendations of the fan-led review, the Shadow Culture Secretary has said.

The review recommended the introduction of a transfer levy of between five and 10 per cent on international deals done by Premier League clubs, and deals between those clubs, as a “progressive” way to support teams lower down the pyramid.

However, it is unclear when or even if such a levy will be introduced, with the Government yet to set a firm timetable for legislation to support the recommendations of the review, including the creation of an independent regulator backed by statute.

Labour are understood to support the idea of a transfer levy, and Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell believes any delay in introducing it is depriving lower-league clubs of desperately needed cash.

Data from Labour, shared with the PA news agency, says that based on Premier League transfer activity over the last five seasons a levy would raise £154million if it was set at five per cent, and £300m if set at 10 per cent.

“Despite record revenues in the Premier League, the football pyramid is in a perilous state. Changes to football governance are long overdue,” the Manchester Central MP said.

“This distracted Government is failing to deliver, and kicked the can down the road, meaning lower league clubs will miss out on millions of pounds in a make-or-break few years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says people must

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says people must “contain their impatience” on implementing the fan-led review (Rob Pinney/PA)

“Bury has already been lost, Derby and Oldham have been relegated, many other clubs are on the brink. In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis fans can’t afford ticket prices to go up as clubs struggle. We urgently need reform to football governance, not more stalling.”

The Government wants the football authorities to reach agreement amongst themselves on a fairer financial distribution model in the first instance, but is prepared to give backstop powers to the new independent regulator in a white paper to be published this summer which would enable it to impose a solution.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says people must “contain their impatience” on this while Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has stressed the complexities involved, and the need to ensure the design of the regulator strikes the right balance between ensuring sustainability of clubs and keeping football competitive and attractive to investors.

The Premier League reiterated its opposition to a statutory independent regulator earlier this week.

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said last year that the introduction of a transfer levy risked “killing the golden goose” of the Premier League while his counterpart at Leeds, Angus Kinnear, went further and compared the levy to Maoism.

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