Tracey Crouch is ready for the Premier League to “push back very, very hard” against his recommendation that English football should be subject to independent regulation.
The Premier League and its clubs appear determined to resist two elements of the criticism recently posted by fans of Crouch. The Tory MP and former Sports Minister’s proposals call for the creation of an independent regulator, with powers to intervene in poorly managed clubs, and a tax on top-flight transfer fees, designed to support teams lower league and base.
On Tuesday, Crouch told the digital, culture, media and sport select committee that she was optimistic the legislative framework required for the introduction of the independent regulator would be included in the Queen’s upcoming speech ahead of its set up for the start of the 2023-24 season, composed of a maximum of 50 financial regulation experts.
Crouch would like to see the immediate creation of a parallel taxpayer funded regulator, which would cost around £ 5million to set up but could start as early as January.
Crouch was not impressed by Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow’s claim that his review’s recommendations risked ‘killing the goose that laid the golden eggs’.
“I don’t think it kills the goose that lays the golden eggs, quite the opposite,” she said. “What we have right now is a vulnerable system. If you remove some of these vulnerabilities through better regulation, it actually encourages growth and investment in English football.
Crouch said there was a lack of consensus among Premier League clubs, but Purslow is far from alone in opposing the proposal. Among the prominent counterparts who raised public objections was Leeds Managing Director Angus Kinnear, who compared Crouch’s transfer tax recommendation to Maoism.
She described Kinnear’s reaction as “a little extreme” and implied that he did not understand her point. “All I’m trying to do is get money up the football pyramid,” she said. “Some critics of the CEOs made it clear that they had not read the report. It is not a government regulator, it is an independent regulator. The mandate focuses on the long-term financial sustainability of football. “
Even so, she accepts that winning hearts and minds won’t be easy. “I understand that the Premier League from its meeting on Friday will be arguing very, very strongly that the independent regulator is not put in place by law,” she said. “I think they are going to push back very, very hard on the statutory aspect of the independent regulator and would prefer it to be a unit of the Football Association.”
Crouch also expects resistance to the transfer tax. “It’s interesting because he was actually offered by a Premier League club,” she said. “The transfer tax is really important. “
Crouch suggested that Kinnear, Purslow and company could reduce the government’s enthusiasm for increased independent statutory control by immediately implementing a tax.
“The Premier League could change the rules tomorrow and have it,” she said. “They could introduce a 3% levy, say, in January it could go to the grassroots and the well-being of the players and it’s done. This would, to use a football analogy, put them 1-0 and park the team bus in front of goal. I would encourage them to do so. I think I was very reasonable in what I recommended in this football review.