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Football: Neville backs independent regulator idea in open joint letter

Football: Neville backs independent regulator idea in open joint letter

Salford City co-owner Gary Neville in the stands before the League Two match between Salford City and Barrow at the Peninsula Stadium in Salford, Britain, on Feb 16, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington, Action Images)

LONDON: Several major English football figures wrote an open joint letter on Monday (May 17) backing the creation of an independent regulator for the national game following the failed attempt by six Premier League clubs to join a breakaway European Super League.

The letter was signed by former Manchester United defenders Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, former England international Gary Lineker and others.

The British government last month said that the creation of an independent body is on its agenda, along with a review of football and whether the much-criticised Owners' and Directors' Test is fit for purpose.

The review will be led by member of parliament and former sports minister Tracy Crouch.

"As football fans, we were appalled by the attempt to set up a European Super League," the open joint letter read. "It was a direct threat to the integrity of the game, destroying the concept of sporting merit and open competition."

Of the 12 European clubs that looked to form a closed European competition, six were from England's Premier League - Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

There have been increasing calls for an independent regulator following the row over Project Big Picture - an attempt by the "Big Six" in the Premier League to gain greater control over the game - and the European Super League proposal.

"We welcome the fan-led government review of the game," the letter added.

"And hope it leads to lasting change on an array of important concerns, including co-ordinated strategies to deal with racism, supporters' representation within clubs, LGBTQ issues, ticket costs and the distribution of income."

Source: Reuters/kg


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