Insights Government publishes terms of reference for independent fan-led review of football governance


The Government says that the independent review’s aim will be to explore ways of improving the governance, ownership and financial sustainability of clubs in English football, building on the strengths of the football pyramid.

The review will add to the recommendations of the English Football League’s Governance Review and the Government’s 2016 Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement. The review will be expected to engage extensively with fans to ensure any recommendations are led by fans’ experience and interests.

The Chair will meet regularly with the Minister for Sport to keep him informed of progress. The final report will be presented to the Minister for Sport, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and The Football Association (FA) on what steps can and should be taken, and how to implement them through legislative and non-legislative means. The final report will be laid before Parliament and published.

The Review will:

  • consider the multiple Owners’ and Directors’ Tests and whether they are fit for purpose, including the addition of further criteria;
  • assess calls for the creation of a single, independent football regulator to oversee the sport’s regulations and compliance, and its relationship with the regulatory powers of the FA and other football bodies;
  • examine the effectiveness of measures to improve club engagement with supporters, such as structured dialogue, that were introduced on the back of the Expert Working Group;
  • investigate ways league administrators could better scrutinise clubs’ finances on a regular basis;
  • examine the flow of money through the football pyramid, including solidarity and parachute payments, and broadcasting revenue;
  • explore governance structures in other countries, including ownership models, and whether any aspects could be beneficially translated to the English league system;
  • look at interventions to protect club identity, including geographical location and historical features (e.g. club badges); and
  • examine the relationship between club interests, league systems and their place within the overall football pyramid.