Earlier today Tracey Crouch published her initial findings from the Fan Led Review of Football Governance.

It's a significant document with important findings, both positive and negative. So let's go through it:
While there was a fair amount of criticism about whether or not the review did in fact qualify as "fan led" due to the make up of its panel, the panel clearly listened, in detail, to everyone that you could reasonably hope for.
Plenty of the groups who participated published the evidence they submitted. The list of those who submitted is encouraging. A good start.
Another encouraging point at the start - the fact the football clubs can not be treated solely as traditional businesses.

We don't want clubs to survive and thrive solely for their competitive success, we want to see our mates, we want to play a part in our communities.
But clubs do need financial controls that are unique to the industry. It's right that the panel looked in detail at whether the current controls are strong enough.
After the introduction we arrive at the first point I'm critical of: the timing of the review. Crouch says that it was the Euro Super League that formally triggered the review. In reality, a broad review of this nature should have happened a long time ago.
It's possible that if some of the measures discussed in Tracey Crouch's letter had been brought in years ago, either by the relevant footballing bodies or the government, it's possible some of the clubs that went to the wall could have been saved.
Tracey Crouch's general assessment of the state of the game here is pretty accurate. For all its faults, English football as an industry has been incredibly successful both as a sport and as a driver for community benefit. But, we can still aim for better.
Now we get to the nitty gritty.

Current levels of spending at the top of the game are crazy. I know it. You know it. Every single owner of an English football club know it. My 7 month old son knows it.

Tracey Crouch knows it too:
That figure of Championship clubs spending on average 107% of their turnover is not a new figure. That's been disclosed before.

Imagine you spent 107% of your pay packet every month. You just can't. Football clubs shouldn't be able to either.
Player wages can't be justified if they genuinely can't be afforded.

I have no moral or ethical issue with players earning well. People should earn a fair amount compared to what they earn for their employer. But currently they're earning above that amount.
Tracey Crouch says that: "English football could
face an existential crisis in years to come unless pre-emptive action is taken now."

I contend we arrived at such a situation a while ago.

Ah the "regulatory framework"

Any regular followers will know that I, and others, have been hyper-critical of football's "self regulation" for many years.

It's fucked. It doesn't work. And the FA and the Premier League can't even deny it anymore.
"The football authorities have also had multiple opportunities to reform. It is with some sadness that I note they didn’t heed those warnings and that
therefore it is time now for external assistance."
The headline recommendation is a call for a new independent regulator. I support this wholeheartedly.

I generally agree with the defined scope as well, though, I do think it should possibly have oversight powers with regards to competition governance in serious circumstances.
Moving on, Crouch argues that home grounds, club badges, locations, colours and competitions should be protected by a golden share.

This is excellent and should be supported wholeheartedly.
Then follows several paragraphs on fan engagement, with Tracey Crouch saying both clubs and football authorities have not made sufficient progress with transparency. Correct, they haven't.
There are several reasons why I don't want to go into too much detail on these particular paragraph. Crouch suggests that there is "no consensus" on the "correct vehicle" for fan engagement.
That's a fair assessment. Those who care passionately about fan engagement have differing views on the best method. I'll leave that complex discussion to the Trusts and the FSA.
Onto "navigating financial gaps"

Crouch says: "I believe that part of the solution is to encourage clubs, particularly at lower levels of the football pyramid, to maximise the revenue generation opportunities from their existing assets."
Now that statement is.... a bit weird. What club *isn't* trying to maximise revenue generation from their existing assets?
"In this, I am minded to recommend the removal of barriers to revenue generation in lower divisions, such as
allowing clubs to operate all weather pitches in League 2."

Gotta say, I'm not a huge fan of artificial pitches. That's a personal opinion. I understand the potential to generate revenue. Save pitch fees, hire it out etc. I just don't like them. But fair enough.
On to parachute payments.

Crouch says a firm recommendation will follow in the final report. One can only hope they are consigned to the dustbin of history, rendered unnecessary by the impending effective financial reform ;)
"In the meantime, I strongly urge the Premier League and the English Football League to reconsider their approaches to finance flows between divisions and within their competitions work together to seek a viable achievable solution."
We have all been urging that for quite some time...
"Reforming Football Authorities' Governance"

There's quite a bit to unpick here, but we'll try and move swiftly and don't worry, we're near the end.
To explain the "Bullingham proposal" in brief simplistic detail: Currently the FA Board is elected from those with some role within the game. That makes it more difficult to be independent because they *may* have a vested interest in their level of the game, or a club or entity.
That makes it more difficult to act totally independently. (I'm not suggesting anything nefarious from the FA Board at all) Simply that their roles can, on occassion, be at loggerheads.
So the proposal is that half of the Board is made up from people who don't come from "The FA Machine" - on the face of it, that's a good idea if, as Crouch says, they are truly independent.
The removal of club directors from the Board of the EFL and National League would be welcomed by Tracey Crouch.
At lot of that will be based on meetings and info that I just don't have access to. I never had it down as the biggest problem. Particularly with the EFL, I thought it was a much bigger problem they keep hiring terrible chief executives.
It possibly was a problem, I can't say for sure. I think a much bigger problem is the voting weights adopted by both the EFL and the National League. The vote of a higher division club is worth more than a lower one, to the point entire divisions can be outvoted.
I am a bit surprised and a bit disappointed that this poll (which was perfectly valid and perfectly legitimate) came out this way, because I think this is a bad idea.
League restructure, as you probably know, is essentially the reason this account exists. I'm not against restructure, I'm not against any possible "League 3" or a new EFL division, just the one that Greg Dyke proposed with B-Teams in 2014. But:
If we're going to add teams to the EFL, fine, if there's a good reason for it. I actually think 5 top divisions of 20 each is a nice number.

But whatever you do, keep the top division of non-league as a single, national division.
I think one of the main reasons why clubs promoted from the National League to the EFL have been so successful is that they have competed and succeeded in a strong, national division. Lots of work, lots of effort, lots of travel. They go up and they succeed, lets not lose that.
As the main points, I'm going to leave it there. The letter refers to Women's Football, protecting young players, which are not my area of expertise.
In all, broadly encouraging, so let's finish the thread on a few points of context.
If most or all of the measures mentioned by Crouch were adopted, the game would be far healthier. Not perfect, still, but healthier.

That isn't going to happen. It just isn't.
A lot will depend on

a) The final report
b) The strength of opposition to the final proposals. And there will be opposition.
Final plans will creep into different aspects of company law, financial law and existing regulators. I've no idea what would be needed to, say, introduce the regulator. Would authorities agree? Would it need legislation? Amended on and voted on in the HoC?
There's also a possibility that the Conservative party could reject several of the proposals. That would be strange, considering this is their manifesto pledge and their review but, again, it could happen. Remember that the football industry generates an awful lot of taxation.
But, all in all, I think a positive document. And let's not forget - congratulations to all who contributed - thanks to all who worked on this (particularly the FSA) and hopefully something positive comes from it.

(That wasn't meant to take 90 minutes. FML)

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More from @AgainstLeague3

17 Jun

Who is behind Irama Sports – the company that’s been buying up sports grounds from under clubs?

We're back once again with the ill behaviour.

I'm delighted to have been joined in some digging by @uglygame and, as usual, he's done the hard work and I'll be taking the credit. It's just how we roll.
Abingdon Town and Whyteleafe resigned from their leagues after their ground was bought by Irama.

According to the Athletic, the prime mover behind the business is ‘Perry Chopra’, who’s been described as ‘a US real estate developer with connections to Singapore.’
Read 30 tweets
15 Jun
Yesterday, two clubs felt compelled to resign from their league, Whyteleafe FC @WhyteleafeFC and Abingdon Town FC @theabbotts_1870 after their ground had been purchased by @iramasports

So I spent the day doing some digging.

Pull up a chair. Have a seat around the fire.
Before starting I want to be clear I'm not alleging any illegal or illicit activity from anyone named in this thread. What I *am* claiming is that there are some unpallatable and greedy business practices in play.

Right, here we go.
@iramasports recently purchased three English football grounds - the grounds of Abingdon Town, Whyteleafe and Brighouse Town.

So why did two of those clubs feel compelled to resign from their league yesterday?
Read 36 tweets
15 Jun
On the @iramasports website you can now book Abingdon's ground for £100 per hour.

They list 14 hourly slots. Fully booked that's approx £500,000 per year.

I'm starting to see why these smaller clubs couldn't 'negotiate' a new lease.
At Whyteleafe's ground, the price increases to £150 per hour peak, £120 off peak.
That sweet sweet 'community feel' - yours for just £150 per hour.
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
2 clubs forced to resign from their league today, Whyteleafe FC @WhyteleafeFC and Abingdon Town FC @theabbotts_1870

Both had their ground bought by @iramasports and were unable to 'negotiate' a new lease.

Irama Sports proudly proclaim they are "powered by Ian Rush" @ianrush_9
Irama's website says that Rush should not "be held responsible for any of IRAMA'S acts" which is probably for the best considering how toxic the company looks today.
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9 Mar 19
OWNAFC promised to revolutionise football.

The reality, after spending your £49? Growing complaints. T&Cs changed to prevent refunds. Subscribers blocked.

It all pales beside new information that has come to light.

Pull up a chair. Have a seat around the fire.
Mr Stuart Harvey is the founder, managing director and sole shareholder of OWNAFC. But you already knew that.

Stuart Harvey is also the founder, CEO and a shareholder in Righttrades Management Ltd. You may already have known this. But there’s so much to the story that you haven’t heard yet.

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