Independent Regulator for English Football and a stamp duty on transfers called for by fans

Premier League clubs should pay a transfer “stamp duty” to support the English pyramid, the fan-led review of football governance has recommended.

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The wide-ranging review commissioned by the Government has, as expected, called for the creation of an Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF).

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It says this should be created via an Act of Parliament to ensure the financial sustainability of the men’s professional game.

Fan-led review has asked for a stamp duty on transfers (Picture: Simon Hulme)

The review has also recommended the granting of ‘golden share’ veto powers to supporters’ groups on key issues such as clubs attempting to enter breakaway competitions, moving stadium or changing club colours.

However, arguably the most surprising and eye-catching recommendation from the panel, led by chair Tracey Crouch, was to provide additional support for the football pyramid via a “solidarity transfer levy” on deals between Premier League clubs or signings from overseas.

The report, published on Wednesday, did not recommend the percentage that the levy should be set at, but stated: “Given the vast wealth at the top of football, the continued levels of investment, the growth of international broadcast deals, and the leadership of the game it provides (domestically and internationally) it is not unreasonable that the Premier League supports wider football to an even greater level.

“The review considered that the most progressive intervention is a new solidarity transfer levy paid by Premier League clubs on buying players from overseas or from other Premier League clubs.

Harrogate-born former Tottenham defender called for this in the Yorkshire Post last week (Picture: AllSport)

“This would work in a similar way to stamp duty and distribute revenues across the pyramid and into grassroots.”

The report quoted analysis that clubs had spent £9.9billion on transfer fees over the last five years. “If a 10 per cent levy had been applied in that period, excluding transfers from EFL clubs, an estimated £160 million per year could have been raised for distribution,” it said. “This level of support, annually, could be game-changing to the pyramid.”

The review said the IREF would be responsible for ensuring fees were paid.

On the thorny issue of parachute payments, the report said the IREF would have backstop powers to “impose a solution” on the Premier League and the EFL if the leagues could not agree one before the IREF had been created. It noted the “poor history” of the industry in reaching such agreements.

Leeds United fans at Elland Road ( Picture: Tony Johnson)

The report called for the IREF to be established in shadow form as soon as possible before the legislation to give it full authority had received Royal Assent.

Clubs in the top five leagues of the English pyramid would need to be licensed by the IREF in order to operate, requiring them to continually demonstrate the viability of the club and the suitability of owners and directors. The IREF would take over responsibility for administering the owners’ and directors’ tests from the Premier League, EFL and the FA.