DCMS has formed its ‘expert panel’ that will support appointed minister Tracey Crouch undertaking the government’s review of football for the benefit of fans and local communities.
The review had been previously pledged as a Conservative Party ‘manifesto commitment’ made by PM Boris Johnson during the 2019 General Election campaign.
Following the widespread fallout of English Football’s ‘Big Six’ clubs being involved in the failed attempt to establish a European Super League, DCMS has been forced to bring the review forward as a further departmental commitment.
A ‘root-and-branch examination of all levels of English football’ has been promised by the DCMS, scrutinising club ownership interests, funding structures, community involvement, corporate governance and fair matchday pricings.
“We have been clear that this is a wide ranging review and we have given the Chair and panel a broad scope to consider ownership models, financial flows and independent regulation,” remarked UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston. “The review could herald a step change in our approach to football governance and I look forward to seeing the recommendations.”
Tracey Crouch, formerly UK Sports Secretary under the Theresa May government, will serve as the review’s Chair, supported by an expert panel formed of “former players and managers, current administrators, representatives of non-league and the women’s game as well as independent members”.
The panel has been established to represent the interests of all stakeholders across the pyramid of English football including the “Premier League, Championship, Women’s, League 1-and-2 and Non-league football with community and diversity-based fan networks asked to participate”.
Everton Chief Executive Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Cambridge United Director Godric Smith and James Tedford, former Southport FC secretary, have been appointed as the panel’s club management experts.
The wholesale examination of English football’s financing structures will be led by football economist and former The Times executive editor Daniel Finkelstein and Dan Jones, partner of Football Finance.
Football governance will be probed by Dawn Airey, the FA Women’s Super League Chair, and David Mahoney, Chief Operating Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board.
Player interests and representation will be led by former Burnley FC player Clark Carlisle as Chair of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) and pro-sports mental health awareness advocate.
The panel’s fan interests will be maintained by Kevin Miles, the chief executive of the Football Supporters Association – which the Labour Party criticised stating that the panel’s make-up failed to represent the paying public’s interests.
On Sunday night, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced that former England and recently retired Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson had joined the panel as its 10th and final member.
The Chair and panel will now begin a series of roundtable meetings that will reach out to fans and football organisations throughout the football pyramid to hear their views on the future of the national game.
“I am thrilled to have such a strong team with a wealth of experience across the whole ecosystem of football to help support the fan-led review,” said Crouch remarked. “The fans will be at the heart of the review panel’s work and I look forward to kicking off the formal meetings with fan groups and others next week.”