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Labour vows to bring forward football governance reforms to prevent breakaways

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said ‘too often, clubs and fans are being let down by the wild west within the football pyramid’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said ‘too often, clubs and fans are being let down by the wild west within the football pyramid’ (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Labour has pledged to bring forward football governance reforms that would prevent breakaways in the style of the ill-fated European Super League if the party wins the General Election.

Sir Keir Starmer said Labour’s football governance Bill would put fans at the heart of decisions over the future of English football.

“In the face of continued threats of breakaways from some European clubs, we have to do this,” the Labour leader said.

He added: “On my watch, there will be no super league-style breakaways from English football.”

In 2021, six English clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – announced they would join a new European Super League, which was scrapped two days later following a public backlash.

The Labour leader made the commitment on a visit to a football club in the South West with shadow culture and sport secretary Thangam Debbonaire.

The party’s manifesto includes a commitment to deliver a new independent football regulator.

The manifesto makes a pledge that “we will never allow a closed league of select clubs to be siphoned off from the English football pyramid”.

Legislation to create an independent football regulator was set aside after a General Election was called for July 4.

Sir Keir said: “Our football governance Bill will put fans front and centre of the debate over the future of English football.

“We are lucky to have historic football clubs at the heart of communities across our country.

“But too often, clubs and fans are being let down by the wild west within the football pyramid.

“That’s why we will legislate for the long-awaited independent football regulator.

“In the face of continued threats of breakaways from some European clubs, we have to do this.

“On my watch, there will be no super league-style breakaways from English football.”

Ms Debbonaire said: “England’s football pyramid is the greatest in the world.

“The new independent football regulator will ensure all its clubs are on a more sustainable footing so that fans can continue to share in the joy for generations to come.

“Football clubs are more than just a business; they are the pride of towns and cities across the country.

“In giving supporters a greater say in how their clubs are run and by strengthening owners’ and directors’ tests we will make England the best place in the world to be a football fan.”