What will the regulator do?
It will exist to “ensure that English football is sustainable and resilient, for the benefit of fans and the local communities football clubs serve”. The broader mission breaks into four specific ‘thresholds’ a club must cross before being given a licence to compete by the regulator: appropriate resources; fit and proper custodians; fan interests; and approved competitions.
Approved competitions means clubs can lose their licence if they sign up for something not endorsed by the regulator (obviously intended to prevent a super league). Fit and proper custodians means an expanded and unified owners’ and directors’ test with more investigative powers to establish who will own a club and where their money comes from (though how often this will prevent a deal from going through is a moot point).
Clubs will be expected to engage regularly with supporters and fans will have a veto over such details as a change of colours or crest. But as much as this document is a triumph for the persistent campaigning of the Football Supporters’ Association, what the white paper offers fans directly can feel a bit like window dressing. The real meat – which will benefit supporters indirectly – lies in the imposition of new financial controls on clubs.