Crouch reviews a real milestone for football with potential for real change

FOr the content of many football fans who have long campaigned to improve the sport’s modern mega-commercialization Tracy Crouch’s “Fan-Led Review” So familiar that it manages to be simultaneously sore and oddly reassuring. It considers the same glaring issues and structural flaws that have piled up since all the previous earnest reports, ever since the Football League’s First Division club formed the Premier League 29 years ago, and is essentially the same. reaches the conclusion.

But this time there’s a big difference, making it a real milestone. The review shows that politicians have been duped considerably, and the veteran campaigner for the Football Supporters Association, who has worked extensively on the details, has changed little from previous reports. It therefore appears unlikely that a conservative government led by a character like Boris Johnson could seriously consider bringing in an independent regulator for the people’s game, which has now become a real possibility, given Crouch’s sense of opportunity and After recommending it.

NS Premier League opposes the proposal, but the single top division of 20 clubs, which holds so much of the sport’s billions and so much power within it, has largely brought up the recommendation. Since the new Labor government convened a “Football Task Force” in 1997 to investigate the mistake of professional changes to the sport, the Premier League has habitually argued and lobbied against regulatory changes. Under former chief executive Richard Scudamore, the Premier League also worked hard to oppose moves by the governing body, the Football Association, to regulate the finances and ownership of top clubs.

With its wealth and assets, the league won those turf wars, and the FA’s role was largely to administer the playing heart of football, from the England team to the grassroots and semi-professional pyramid, and coaching programs. developed for the development of. It has made commendable progress in many of these areas, as announced by Shocking improvement of England team, but largely stays away from the business end of regulating clubs and the sport’s painfully asymmetrical finances.

Reviews of Crouch reached the same overall assessment that was clearly justified, reached by all of its pioneers, acknowledging the game’s dazzling achievements since 1992, recognizing its disasters. “This success story of English football is attributable to the hard work and vision of countless people over the years,” it says, “but simultaneously celebrating this achievement as well as serious concerns about its future viability.” It is possible in football in this country. ”

The Crouch review could lead to more checks and balances on clubs. Photograph: Katherine Iville/Getty Images

During all the years of inquiry the top clubs have succeeded with one main objective: to keep as much football money for themselves as possible. The breakaway had escaped the Football League structure of sharing money through four divisions, and the 20 clubs that are on the golden pinnacle at any point never came close to restoring the more equal, 50% distribution of the old. Huh.

The resulting dire disparity shows the clubs’ 2019-20 revenues with a very simple color graph on page 28 of Crouch’s report. The four clubs that have played in the Champions League are above all other clubs, each with an average of £444m in revenue. This was £424m higher than the £20m average made by Championship clubs without parachute payments. Those with parachute payouts, as the report believed, distort the finances of the EFL impossibly, yet only make an average of £52m stumping on the graph. If clubs cannot reach agreement, the review seeks to be imposed by the regulator for more equal sharing.

A nearly 30-year concentration of football money has turned so much of the top venerable clubs into investments, originally set up as Victorian community institutions, for owners to “get out” someday. And there is the possibility of selling for a huge personal profit. In December 1999 the FA, the Premier League and the Football League rejected the reform proposals of the majority of the Football Task Force and prepared their own separate reports. barely one top 20 clubs of the time are now the same owners, and many, especially Martin Edwards of Manchester United And Liverpool’s David Moores, sold its shares to investors for a profit of millions of pounds. It is shocking to recall that this stance was adopted by the 1999–20 Premier League which included Sunderland, Coventry, Wimbledon, Derby, Bradford and Sheffield Wednesday, clubs that have all faced serious difficulties since their exit Is.

Professional clubs have gone bankrupt 62 times since the breakup of the Premier League, leaving traces of unpaid debts from the administration, Crouch reports. Many fell through in the early 2000s, when there was nothing like today’s scale of financial regulation, and no “test of fit and proper persons” at all, with football officials arguing for years that this would be impractical.

The Premier League and EFL have progressed over time, due to various reports, pressures, crises or business arguments, or sometimes by doing the right thing. Given the historical point of view, it is surprising that patience has finally lapsed, and the recommendation for independent regulation is warranted, when the sport is better run and more adequately regulated than ever before, and for clubs. Comprehensive community programs are doing excellent work in many areas. Decades of government austerity but now the latest in an exhausting series of inquiries led by some of those long-existing concluded that football could no longer be left alone, and needed some help to fend for itself. Is.