Competition law is set to be changed to protect football as a national treasure, a Cabinet minister signalled today.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden bluntly told football club owners that they are just “temporary custodians” of the national game.
He stressed a review led by former sports minister Tracey Crouch would be swiftly acted upon by the Government and highlighted that in France competition law takes into account “national heritage and cultural implications”.
Mr Dowden told BBC Breakfast: “Football owners need to understand they are just temporary custodians of this piece of our national life and heritage that goes back over a century.
“And I’m keen that we don’t just say that ‘this is all over with, forget about it’, that’s why I announced on Monday that we would have a fan-led review, led by Tracey Crouch, someone who I think commands respect from fans of all different clubs and indeed across the House of Commons.”
Pressed on how the Government would legislate to achieve this, he added: “I welcome foreign investment in the UK game..the English game...it’s ensured that we have a fantastic game up and down the country, pretty much every day we have world-class players playing.
“But I do think it’s important that as part of the fan-led review, we look at how we can empower fans.
“It’s interesting for me to look at what happened in Germany. German clubs did not participate because fans had a strong stake in it.
“Competition law, for example in France, also takes into account national heritage and cultural implications and it’s important that we weigh those up.
“It’s right that we allow Tracey to undertake this review but we don’t intend to let this go, we intend to proceed following that review.”
Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal last night followed Chelsea and Manchester City in walking away from the European Super League.
The ESL said it would reconsider “the most appropriate steps” to reshape the breakaway tournament but it appeared now to be dead.
The English clubs pulled out after a furious backlash from fans, MPs and ministers, with the Government threatening legal action to block the ESL.
Chelsea and Manchester City were also warned they could be kicked out of the ongoing Champions League