A parliamentary petition calling for an independent regulator in English football got more than 100,000 signatures. The petition was launched by ex-footballers. More than 20 former players and journalists, including Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville, and Gary Lineker, signed an open letter to fans, highlighting the need for urgent reform following an attempt to set up a European Super League.
“As football fans, we were appalled by the attempt to set up a European Super League,” the letter reads. “It was a direct threat to the integrity of the game, destroying the concept of sporting merit and open competition.”
In addition to an independent regulator, the petition also calls on the government to introduce legislation to ensure Premier League clubs don’t make another attempt “to abandon the country’s football pyramid.”
Even though all Premier League teams dropped out of the Super League following protests by fans, the letter states that such projects remain a threat as long as there are no regulations to prevent it.
“We welcome the fan-led Government review of the game and hope it leads to lasting change on an array of important concerns,” the letter added.
While sports minister Nigel Huddleston said that the government is considering introducing a regulator, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters disagrees with the proposal.
“We have to be open to regulatory change, but I don’t think the answer is an independent regulator. I would defend the Premier League’s record in regulating its clubs.”
The Super League was intended to rival the Champions League, consisting of six Premier League teams and nine others, including Serie A’s AC Milan and La Liga’s Barcelona. Five more teams would have had to qualify for the competition each year. The project fell apart after UEFA announced disciplinary actions against the teams.
While the idea of a Super League may have sounded entertaining for some, and perhaps had the potential to fuel lucrative sports bets online, the parliamentary petition clearly shows that many UK fans are appalled by the failed breakaway plot.