Burnley chairman Alan Pace calls for independent regulator to protect English football, amid European Super League plans

Burnley chairman Alan Pace has called for the government to appoint an independent regulator to protect English football, amid the breakaway move by the 'big six' to form a new European Super League.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 12:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 12:50 pm
Alan Pace

Pace feels Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs have "turned their back on our moral duty as custodians of the game to protect English football and, the spirit of the sport, at all costs."

And he feels it is time for the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and minister for sport Oliver Dowden to intervene.

In an open letter to Burnley supporters and the English football community, Pace says:

"Dear Supporters,

"A breakaway Super League should never have happened, but this is about much more than club self-interest and is an example of how the governance of football in this country and throughout Europe needs to be reformed.

"The six Premier League clubs taking this step have turned their back on our moral duty as custodians of the game to protect English football and, the spirit of the sport, at all costs.

"Weak governance has led us to this point. Therefore, today I am calling on Boris Johnson and Oliver Dowden to follow their welcome intervention and now appoint an independent regulator to protect English football with legislation.

"As a former financier, I understand the commercial considerations for these clubs and can appreciate their frustration at being the largest revenue drivers for the UEFA Champions League, without receiving the same levels of influence and reward.

"However, this is a move which does not treat fans or the game’s history with the respect it deserves and is not the solution.

"We need to ensure that football is protected. The game is bigger than all of us, and its future cannot be compromised by self-interest.

"The contempt the proposals have received was inevitable. It is truly a shame that it has come to this. We are the greatest league in the world and we can do more to bring people together and set the path forward for all and not just the few. We have a responsibility to all that have come before us and all those who will follow in the wider game.

"While we too at Burnley have ambitious plans to grow the club’s revenues, those plans have always been on the back of performance, both on and off the pitch and not artificial protectionism.

"As my business partners and I have now been working and living in Burnley for several months and are in the process of moving permanently to the area I would greatly encourage my fellow chairmen to walk the streets around their local communities and get to know them personally, rather than creating more distance between themselves and fans.

"This is also why I invite No.10, the Government and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to now legislate. Ultimately, we need a strong regulator in the style of OFTEL or OFCOM to protect and build the interests of English football. It’s time to do things differently!

"Over the coming days, I will be working hard alongside my fellow club owners and governing bodies to fight these proposals and find a solution to improved football governance in this country. I welcome initial noises coming from the UK Government and encourage them to provide strong leadership on these proposals, given their seismic impact on the UK’s cultural landscape.

"Yours in Football."