Premier League clubs should pay transfer ‘stamp duty’, fan-led football review finds

premier league clubs should pay a transfer “stamp duty” to support England’s pyramid, the fan-led review of football governance recommended.

The broad government-commissioned review has, as expected, called for the creation of an Independent English Football Regulator (IREF).

He says this should be created through an Act of Parliament to ensure the financial viability of professional male gambling.

The review also recommended granting ‘gold share’ veto rights to fan groups on key issues such as clubs attempting to participate in breakaway competitions, stadium relocation or club color change. .

However, arguably the most surprising and eye-catching recommendation of the panel, led by President Tracey Crouch, was to provide additional support to the football pyramid via a ‘solidarity transfer tax’ on agreements between football clubs. Premier League or signings from abroad.

The report, released on Wednesday, did not recommend the percentage at which the levy should be set, but said: “Given the vast wealth at the top of football, the continued investment levels, the growth of international broadcast agreements and the leadership of the game it offers (nationally and internationally), it is not unreasonable for the Premier League to support wider football at an even higher level.

“The review considered that the most progressive intervention is a new solidarity transfer tax paid by Premier League clubs when purchasing players abroad or from other Premier League clubs. would work the same for stamp duty and income distribution across the pyramid and at the grassroots. ”

The report cited an analysis that said clubs had spent £ 9.9bn on transfer fees over the past five years.

“Had a 10% levy been applied during this period, excluding transfers from EFL clubs, around £ 160million per year could have been collected for distribution,” he said. “This level of annual support could be a game-changer for the pyramid.”

The review indicated that IREF would be responsible for ensuring that the fees are paid.

On the thorny issue of parachute payments, the report says the IREF would have supporting powers to “force a solution” on the Premier League and the EFL if the leagues could not come to an agreement before the creation of the league. ‘IREF. He noted the industry’s “bad history” in making such deals.

The report called for the IREF to be drawn up in fictitious form as soon as possible before the legislation giving it full powers received royal assent.

Clubs in the top five leagues in the English pyramid would have to be IREF licensed in order to operate, which would require them to continuously demonstrate the viability of the club and the suitability of owners and administrators.

The IREF would take over the administration of the tests of owners and directors of the Premier League, EFL and the Football Association.

There would be separate tests for owners and administrators, but both would contain “integrity tests” requiring individuals to demonstrate their “good character.”

“A proposed owner will be considered of good character if there is no reliable evidence to consider otherwise and IREF has no reasonable grounds to doubt his good reputation,” the report said.

The report did not say whether human rights issues would be taken into account in the test, which was requested by Amnesty International following the controversy surrounding the Saudis’ takeover of Newcastle.

However, the test would take into account “the integrity and reputation of any close family member or business associate of the proposed owner.”

The Premier League has said of Newcastle it has “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi state has no direct control over the club, despite being chaired by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which owns 80% of the shares. by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who, according to US intelligence agencies, approved the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

PIF governor Yasir Al Rumayyan was said to have been the only representative of the sovereign wealth fund to come under the test, but the new proposal appears to go further.

The tests would be applied annually to administrators as part of the licensing system and on a phased three-year basis for owners. The results of all tests would be published.

The IREF would also have the power to manage subsidies to owners to prevent them from destabilizing individual clubs or distorting the leagues in which they play.

The report states that the IREF “should have a proportionality mechanism when assessing homeowners’ injections.”

He added: “Broadly speaking, this would involve setting a limit on the level of the grant to owners based on the size of a club’s existing finances (which would increase over time if the investment was successful and the club was growing). “

He also recommended the introduction of promotion and relegation clauses in player contracts in the form of fixed percentages.

Clubs would be subject to real-time monitoring and would be asked to produce emergency “transition plans” that would go into effect if certain “triggers” were affected and reported financial distress, in order to prevent clubs from failing. ‘collapse.

The IREF would have the power to impose sporting sanctions, although, where appropriate, preference would be given to sanctions directed against individuals rather than measures that would harm fans.

The report called for the creation of ‘shadow boards’ to give supporters greater influence and oversight over decision-making, and said minimum requirements for fan engagement would be part of the licensing system. .

On matters such as relocating a club, changing a badge or colors of a host club, the name of the club or attempting to participate in a competition not sanctioned by the FA, Fifa or UEFA, a “gold share” veto would be granted to a leader of the Community Benefit Society (CBS).

The report noted that 73 clubs currently have a CBS in the form of a supporter trust. He said if the veto power is exercised, the IREF will arbitrate or appoint arbitrators to resolve the dispute.

The review makes 47 recommendations in total, after hearing over 100 hours of testimony and receiving contributions from supporters of 130 clubs.

Clubs entering the EFL are expected to be given a three-year grace period to set up a grass pitch, and the review also calls on the government and the UK Football Police Unit to work on a pilot scheme to allow the sale of alcohol at sight of the land. during National League and Ligue 2 matches.

He also called on the game to provide better mental health support for female players released from the game, especially at the academy level, and for a similar review to be carried out for women’s football.

The government promised a fan-led review as part of its manifesto for the 2019 general election. This pledge followed Bury’s collapse, and the decision to move him forward was influenced by the financial shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the short-lived formation of a European Super League in April.

The government is expected to support the idea of ​​an independent regulator in principle, and a written ministerial statement is expected on Thursday.


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