Legislation to establish an independent regulator in English soccer will be introduced on Tuesday in an effort to ensure the financial sustainability of clubs and stop teams from joining breakaway competitions like the European Super League.

The Football Governance Bill, which will underpin the creation of a new regulator which will license clubs in the top five tiers of the English game, was described by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as a “historic moment for football fans.”

The British government is acting on a recommendation from a fan-led review carried out in the wake of the collapse of two lower-league clubs — Bury and Macclesfield — because of financial mismanagement. It also comes in response to the failed attempts of 12 of Europe’s elite clubs, including six from England’s Premier League, to set up a European Super League in 2021.

The English clubs quickly shelved the idea after a backlash from fans and the government.

The government said the regulator will be a standalone body — independent of the government and soccer’s authorities — that is “equipped with robust powers revolving around three core objectives: To improve financial sustainability of clubs, ensure financial resilience across the leagues, and to safeguard the heritage of English football.”

Under the bill, new owners and directors will face more stringent tests to stop clubs falling into the wrong hands, and face the possibility of being removed from owning clubs if they are found to be unsuitable.

Clubs from the Premier League down to the fifth-tier National League will, for the first time, need a license to compete in elite competitions. That license will require all clubs to meet certain mandatory conditions, such as basic requirements on fan engagement, corporate governance and financial reporting.

Clubs will be required to consult their fans on key off-field decisions, such as club heritage and the club’s strategic direction. There will be protection against breakaway competitions and stadium relocations.

The regulator also will have the power to settle an ongoing row over financial distribution between the Premier League and the English Football League — the three divisions below the top-flight. “Backstop powers,” as the government has called them, will be confirmed when the bill is introduced to Parliament on Tuesday.

“Football is nothing without its fans,” Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said. “We are determined to put them back at the heart of the game, and ensure clubs as vital community assets continue to thrive.

“The new independent regulator of football will set the game on a sustainable footing, strengthening clubs and the entire football pyramid for generations.”

Facing a possible reduction of its powers, the Premier League — the most-watched and most lucrative domestic league in the world — said it will study the bill and work closely with the government, having previously voiced concerns about how a regulator could potentially damage the league's ability to attract investment.

“Mindful that the future growth of the Premier League is not guaranteed,” the competition said on Monday, “we remain concerned about any unintended consequences of legislation that could weaken the competitiveness and appeal of English football.”

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