Gordon Brown backs calls for Premier League transfer tax labelled by Leeds United as 'Maoism'

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed fears ‘runaway greed’ risks ruining the Premier League as he called for the reforms put forward in ex-sports minister Tracey Crouch’s review to be implemented in full.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has called for proposed reforms to football governance to go ahead.
Former prime minister Gordon Brown has called for proposed reforms to football governance to go ahead.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Brown echoed calls for an independent regulator to be appointed in the game, one of 47 recommendations put forward by Crouch as a result of the fan-led review which was commissioned by the Government in the wake of the failed Super League breakaway.

The review also called for Premier League clubs to pay a tax on transfers, potentially generating millions of pounds to be reinvested further down the pyramid, and for fans to be granted a ‘golden share’ in their club.

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Leeds United are among those opposing the reforms, with chief executive Angus Kinnear controversially claiming in December that her suggestion of a levy on transfer fees to help support lower leagues was “akin to Maoist collective agriculturalism”.

He said: “Enforcing upon football a philosophy akin to a Maoist collective agriculturalism — which students of ‘The Great Leap Forward’ will know culminated in the greatest famine in history — will not have made the English game fairer, it will kill the competition, which is its very lifeblood. Teams further down the pyramid do not needs their means artificially inflated, they need to live within them.”

But Mr Brown said: “I agree with the idea of a transfer tax. A stamp duty should be charged on transfers to help the lower leagues and youth football.

“The Crouch review suggests 10 per cent but if even a five per cent charge was levied on a year’s transfer activity from the top flight, up to £80m could be funnelled down to the grassroots element of the game every year.

Mr Brown, a shareholder in his boyhood club Raith Rovers, expressed fears Crouch’s proposals could be watered down before becoming law, and instead argued that further measures should be introduced, including raising tax levels on betting companies and investing the proceeds in grassroots sport.

He added: “We must rebut the responses of a Premier League immobilised by its own vested interests and I urge fans to keep pressing the case for change before those behind the European Super League regain the strength to try to undermine the fabric of our game again.”