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Chairman Mark Palios' view on the Independent Regulator and Fan Led Review

23 February 2023

Club News

Chairman Mark Palios' view on the Independent Regulator and Fan Led Review

23 February 2023

It has been just over a year since the publication of the Tracy Crouch report and on Thursday 23rd February the Government will be realising a white paper about Football Governance. 

Chairman, Mark Palios, has given his opinion on both, the Fan Led Review and Independent Regulator.

“This is my view based on my career as a pro footballer for over 17 years with professional clubs part of which was as the PFA rep; CEO of The FA, a 30 year career working with businesses with financial problems and also as owner and exec chairman of a lower league professional football club for the last 8 years.”

“This is intended as a critique of the governance of our National Game not a criticism of the individuals who happen to be or have been in post in a system that militates against modern governance. Governance means different things to different people. For me it’s about ALL stakeholders having confidence in the decision making processes and that their particular views are properly taken into account in a way that balances these interests for the greater good of the organisation / the collective / the industry etc.”

“If anything it’s directed towards Stuart Andrew, the Sports Minister on whose watch the best chance to protect the National Sport will either be taken or left to flounder once again on the tried and trusted modus operandi of football’s “Powers that be”. Delay and walk difficult issues into the long grass.”

“In a nutshell, Tracey Crouch’s review was an excellent piece of work but should just be seen for what it is... the first step in a process that is seeking to fix a problem that’s been in the making for the last 70 years and which the Game’s Victorian governance structure has patently failed to address allowing the inexorable March of Mamon with the rich getting richer and financial doping killing competition. Something which is fatal to a sport.”

“The worry now is that the required political support will fall prey to the usual Modus operandi of the Game’s constituent organisations: The EFL voting arrangements are such that the Championship Clubs have a blocking vote on anything meaningful. This essentially means the Championship clubs call the shots resulting in other League One and League Two owners realising their impotence to materially change things and they disengage as a result.”

Should the footballing pyramid be preserved? 

The first question to be answered is whether or not we should try to support the pyramid. Despite the comments attributed to a well-known chairman of one of the big 5 at the time of the debate on sharing the increasingly material TV monies, (the Heathrow Agreement in 1985) that the lower league clubs needed to be “put to sleep”, I think that it’s accepted that the pyramid which is unique and inextricably woven into the fabric of so many local communities in this country, should be supported. The collective response to the suggested formation of the Super League, as well as, the increasing attendances at EFL matches and the National League, which this season has been pulling in crowds of 10,000+ in some cases, this indicates that a lot of people in this country think it’s something that’s worth the effort.”

Can things continue as they are? 

“It is also recognised that things can’t continue as they are and Tracey Crouch’s work recommends the appointment of an Independent Regulator which again has generally been accepted although the detail of the role has not been determined and is in danger of being watered down.”

“Disturbingly, a year has gone with no tangible progress. More worryingly, it has been reported that the Government is looking to the Game to provide a solution to the question of Funds Flow, with a fallback that the Regulator can intervene if the response is deemed inadequate.”

You can listen to Mark’s full statement below:

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