The conversation around English football is set to be brought front and centre again as Gary Neville and an eight-person group that also includes David Bernstein, David Davies and Andy Burnham put forward their Manifesto for Change regarding independent regulation in English football.
The former Manchester United and England full-back has always been a vocal exponent against the way in which the English game has been run, and he now has the platform with which to potentially enforce real change at all levels of the game.
The latter is something the Neville was keen to espouse.
“The principle is that we don’t trust that football can govern itself and create the fairest deal for all, whether that’s the Premier League, EFL clubs, non-League clubs or the fans,” he said to Sky Sports News and cited by Sky Sports.
“It has been proven over this past six months that football has struggled to bring everyone together and proven to be incapable over a 25-30 year period of transforming the money in the game into something that works for everybody.
“I want the best Premier League in the world, but I want sustainable football clubs.
“There is enough money in the game to be able to have an elite Premier League, a sustainable and competitive EFL, money passed down to non-League and grassroots and where fans can get a fair deal.
“That’s where an independent regulator, with that spirit at the heart of it, can come in and say ‘that’s not fair’.
“I know we’ve got a big task in front of us, but we’ve got a group of people who love football and want the best for football.”
Saving the Beautiful Game – Manifesto for Change’ key recommendations
- Create a new regulatory body for football that is independent of the current structure of the game
- Decide on new ways of distributing funds to the wider game based on a funding formula and a fair levy payable by the Premier League
- Set up a new and comprehensive licencing system for the professional game
- Review causes of financial stress in the English Football League, including parachute payments and salary caps
- Implement governance reforms at the FA which are essential to ensure it is truly independent, diverse and representative of English football today
- Liaise with supporters’ organisations
- Learn lessons from abroad and champion supporter involvement in the running of clubs
The fact that Neville has some real industry heavyweights alongside him in this latest endeavour suggests that they may well have a chance of forcing some kind of positive change.
Developments over the the next few weeks will be interesting indeed.