Wentworth and Dearne MP, John Healey, has said the introduction of the Football Governance Bill is welcome but has been “held back by government time wasting”.

The legislation, introduced in Parliament today (19th March 2024) will give powers to an independent body to oversee the running of football clubs in the top five leagues in England.

John has been working with Rotherham United, who backed the changes, and he wrote to the Culture Secretary calling for the reforms to be included in the Queen’s speech in May 2022, but the government instead delayed announcing any reforms at the time.

John Healey MP said: “The introduction of the Football Governance Bill is welcome but has been held back by government time wasting – it’s 13 years since the Select Committee originally recommended greater regulation in football.

“I’ve met with Rotherham United CEO, Paul Douglas, on several occasions over the past few years to discuss fairer regulation and called on the government to act more quickly on the matter.

“It’s clear change is needed to rebalance the relationship between fans and clubs and between the biggest names in the Premier League and the smaller clubs lower down the leagues.

“It’s important that any new regulator is able to defend the interest of fans, ensure the financial sustainability of the football pyramid and have the powers it needs to protect our clubs.”

The Football Governance Bill follows the Fan Led Review which was carried out in 2021 and also recommended a regulator for the long-term stability of the game.

Speaking following confirmation of the Football Governance Bill’s arrival to Parliament, Rotherham United Chairman Tony Stewart said: “Today’s events will be hugely significant for our sport in ensuring that a fair and sustainable financial model exists for all clubs.

“From the outset we have been right behind the EFL’s efforts and have been much gratified by the support of our own local MPs Sarah Champion and John Healey and the work that they have put in to ensure that the Bill has been elevated to Parliament. The time that they have dedicated shows that clubs like ours are the beating heart of our communities and need to be protected.

“The fact that the new Independent Football Regulator will be enshrined in law will ensure that clubs  have their long-term financial futures safeguarded and guarantee the integrity of the fantastic competition that we have in the EFL.

“Undoubtedly, the financial gap has become more difficult to bridge over recent years and we are confident that this new legislation will create a more level playing field on which clubs throughout the pyramid are able to compete with one another without over-reaching financially.

“We will continue to assist the many organisations and individuals who have worked tirelessly on the Football Governance Bill and on behalf everyone at Rotherham United, I would like to reaffirm our sincere thanks to those same people.”