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Football Governance Bill delayed: Simon Leaf and Tom Murray comment

Posted on 28 May 2024

The upcoming general election has caused a delay in the passage of the Football Governance Bill, a piece of legislation with the potential to significantly impact the future of football. The bill, recommended after a fan-led review, aims to prevent breakaway leagues, enhance financial sustainability, protect club heritage and increase fan involvement in club governance.

Simon Leaf addressed the implications of the delay: "The Football Governance Bill has been criticised by a section of the industry - including the Premier League itself. However, any joy at this decision within the boardrooms for the Premier League and its clubs is likely to be short-lived - especially if the current opinion polls prove to be accurate and Labour win power. Shadow ministers have gone on the record to suggest that, in their view, the current Bill does not go far enough and so we may see additional powers being granted to the regulator if and when the Bill is re-introduced into the next Parliament."

Tom Murray added: The Independent Regulator is dead, long live the Independent Regulator! The general election will delay the implementation of the IREF, which was initially intended to be operational (in some form) by the start of the 2024/25 season. However, given cross-party support for the Football Governance Bill, it is likely that an IREF will be introduced in one form or another in the next Parliamentary session. The delay provides an opportunity for football stakeholders to lobby the future Government with the key issue being the IREF's potential powers to determine the financial redistribution of funds between the Premier League and the English Football League which remains in dispute."

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