Having now been through the full 162-page Fan Led Review document, I must say I think it's incredibly positive.

The full list of recommendations, should they ever come to fruition, will cause a huge shift in the direction of English football.

A thread:
The FLR was announced by the Govt in April following the Super League debacle. The panel heard evidence from hundreds of supporters and supporter groups along with staff and executives from clubs and leagues.
The result, in my opinion, is a raft of recommendations that will, if implemented, be incredibly healthy for the sport. I think the panel, and those who submitted evidence, have done excellent work.
The full findings were published last night. While I wanted to summarise my own thoughts in a thread, I'd recommend you read the document. It's substantial at 162 pages but it's written clearly and isn't a difficult read. Anyway, here we go:
The review gives a fairly critical assessment as to the financial state of the professional men's game.
While there is no argument that commercially the sport has been very successful, largely due to some small event in 1992 you may not have heard of, there is little control on costs, mainly wages.

The review suggests that financially, the game is in a dire state.
It also suggests that football's policy of self regulation isn't working. This is something that I, along with thousands of others, have argued for years.
Essentially the FA leave the governance of the professional game to the league authorities, who are themselves literally owned by the clubs.

It's like letting your own kids pick whether they want salad or chocolate for dinner every night.
The key recommendation of the review is the creation of an Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF .. geddit?) by way of legislation.
IREF, as proposed, would be an independent body with authority to monitor club financials in real-time, oversee a revamped O+D test (more on that later) and implement a club licensing system.
It would be able to demand information from clubs, assess compliance, launch investigations and issue sanctions.

Review proposed that IREF is created by law, but starts prepatory work before then.
On to finance, the review recommends IREF regulates football finance.
Firstly review recommends IREF implements controls on "owner subsidies" (ie - how much money an owner can just inject into the club) saying that consideration should be given to the comeptitiveness of the entire league.
The issue of financial distribution is discussed at length in the report. Parachute payments are bemoaned, but no recommendation to remove them follows.
Instead, the review says existing authorities have until the end of the year to come to a better arrangement for financial distribution down the pyramid, before IREF will step in.
One of the bigger overhauls in the report is the new recommended methodology for the O+D test.

As we all know (and the report agrees) the current O+D test is garbage, and not worth the paper it's written on.
You can read much more about that in the book that @uglygame and I will publish in January ;)

@uglygame New O+D test will be overseen by IREF, to fully replace the three existing tests (The FA's test, the PL's test and the EFL's test)
@uglygame Instead, there will be a separate test for "owners" (over 25% shareholding) and directors (including non-exec and non-official directors such as CEOs).
@uglygame In addition, owners will be required to submit a business plan, provide evidence of three years of funding, financial projections, proposed corporate governance structure.
@uglygame IREF will also assess the "character" of the applicant. Criminal matters will obviously be assessed but so will regular "minor" issues that indicate the character of the applicant.
@uglygame Every applicant for the "owner" test will also have to repass it, every three years. Applicants should be publicly named, as should the outcome of the test.
@uglygame Existing owners who fail, will likely have their club licence to operate in their league stripped. It will also be a licence condition to identify the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of the club.
@uglygame The report then moves to a chapter on corporate governance. Essentially a new "Code for Football Governance" should be created as a guide for existing football authorities, who should "continue to reform their own governance".
@uglygame It's a complex chapter that goes through how bodies and clubs should be governed, the makeup of boards, communications and financial transparency etc.
@uglygame As such I won't go into too much detail because it's really nitty gritty stuff and really needs to be read to be appreciated.
@uglygame On diversity, the review finds a number of groups who are under-represented in the male game. "Action Plans" should be created by clubs and will be assessed by IREF
@uglygame On "Improving Supporter Engagement" the review suggests that (some) clubs and leagues are underperforming in their commitments to engage with supporters - leading to the recommendation of the creation of "shadow boards" at each club from PL to NL, as a licence condition.
@uglygame While most of the review's recommendations were obvious or expected, this one is a bit new so let's explore exactly what a "shadow board" is.
@uglygame A shadow board will be a democratically elected group of around 5-12 supporters with a remit to discuss issues like business plans, operational issues, stadia, commercial performance with senior club representatives.
@uglygame The club will be required to engage with this shadow board at least once a quarter, with the CEO or equivalent in attendance twice a year.
Sadly, the review holds short of implementing anything similar for supporter engagement with the FA or leagues, but hey ho.
On we go. Golden shares. The review recommends the creation of a Golden Share that would protect the club's heritage. Specifically, this golden share would be given to a supporter group Community Benefit Society.
If the club wanted permission to say, change the name of the club, change the kit, or, I dunno, move a club 45 miles away to Milton Keynes, the group in possession of this golden share would have to give permission.
What a novel idea, if only someone had thought of that 17 years ago.
If the club wants to make any changes that requires the permission of the golden share holder, they must be given 45 days notice to consult with the supporter group.
There will also be an appeal and arbitration process managed by IREF, in the event the golden share owner witholds permission.
The FA is also advised to make rule changes in this area, with the review pointing out that while FA heritage protection rules have recently prevented some egregious ideas from clubs, the process is difficult and complicated.
On to financial distribution. This is one area where I wish the review had gone a bit further. The ideas arent *bad* per se, but there was a bit more room for ideas here I thought.
The headline recommendation is that Premier League clubs pay a 10% levy on transfers either from abroad or within the PL (notably, PL buying from EFL will be excluded). The report estimates this will raise an additional £160m per year to be distributed amongst the pyramid.
Like this. Should have been done ages ago.
A new clause should be entered into standard playing contract, increasing wages upon promotion, but reducing wages on relegation.
A pilot of alcohol sales in L2 and NL(P) should be conducted, says the review. The existing legislation describing alcohol sales at football is 40 years old and well past a suitable time for review. Good.
On to the women's game. A bit shorter than the rest of the chapters mainly because the headline recommendation is that the women's game needs its own review.
A number of challenges are raised, access to facilities, whether to affiliate with mens teams, commercial issues, growth and structure.
Lastly, a chapter on player welfare. The report details the staggering numbers of players who are discarded from high level academies, often with little to no support despite being mandated by EPPP. Leagues, the PFA and the FA are instructed to provide a better support framework.
On the whole, I am broadly supportive of the recommendations, I truly believe they will make the sport much healthier. However...
The challenge ahead to implement these measures is substantial. It mostly hinges on IREF, which will be torn up, reviewed, changed, dilluted in the Commons, likely with significant lobbying from the PL.
I believe the public should vocally support these recommendations, and vocally support the creating of IREF ASAP. Tell your MP, stick it on social media, because it could be a significant battle ahead.
The recommendations won't "fix" football, but they are an excellent start, again only in my humble opinion.
I hope these clears up some of the issues in the report if you're not inclined to go and read all 162 pages. Well done to all the contributors, well done to the panel.

Edit - apologies for some of the spelling errors typing in a hurry but made a glaring error to say changing kit is a golden share issue - which it clearly isn't. Meant to say changing the club badge.

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More from @AgainstLeague3

22 Sep

Given that Pep Guardiola has called for B-Teams, again, I’d like to, explain, again, why quite a lot of us would prefer that not to happen.

A thread:
In a video of a presser published today, Guardiola (known for his outstanding track record working with minimal resources) said his young players should be playing every week in the Championship or L1 to aid development.

He says it “would be the best” for English football.
What Pep actually means is: It would be best for Manchester City.
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22 Jul
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:
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Plenty of the groups who participated published the evidence they submitted. The list of those who submitted is encouraging. A good start.
Read 45 tweets
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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
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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

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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
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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

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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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