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Gary Neville has ‘no doubt’ football authorities will resist independent regulator proposals

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Gary Neville believes football’s authorities will do everything they can to avoid an independent regulator being introduced.

A fan-led review chaired by Tracey Crouch, the former sports minister, has been long-awaited, and it made 47 recommendations aimed at making English football more financially sustainable.

At the centre of the proposals is the introduction of a new regulator, which would be given the power to punish clubs who are involved in breakaway competitions such as the failed European Super League.

Former Manchester United defender Neville has been extremely outspoken in the past about the need for regulation in the sport, but believes the actions of those in power have showed they cannot be trusted to accept change.

“I’ve no doubt (those in) the corridors of power will meet in the coming weeks and try to come up with a plan to bring forward some proposals which mean that they will suggest that we don’t need an independent regulator in the next 12 months - however, we know what you’re really like now,” Neville said.

“Your real personalities and characters have surfaced, through Big Picture, through the fact there’s no independence around the Saudi Arabian takeover (of Newcastle), through the Super League and the fact (the clubs involved) wanted to destroy the pyramid.

“We know what you’re like, you’ve displayed your deficiencies, you’ve proved them over a 30, 40-year period. They do need a referee. They need a mediator.

“They need someone to bang their heads together and get these very intelligent, passionate people about football to work in unity towards the wider game.”

The proposed introduction of a transfer levy on Premier League clubs was one of the most eye-catching recommendations.

Neville said Premier League clubs do not need to be worried about reckless owners in the EFL, because of the checks and balances imposed by the regulator.

“I would expect the regulator to come down really hard in respect to the EFL clubs on financial control, monitoring, tracking and sustainable football,” he said.

“So I wouldn’t expect the money just to wash down from the Premier League into an abyss again.

“This is a real opportunity to be a historic moment to reset the recklessness that has existed in the game, not to chase for that Premier League golden ticket that brings desperation.

“Clubs leaving the Premier League each season are not just in a sporting sense disappointed, they’re almost financially devastating themselves. We’ve got to take that away.”

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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