Lifting restrictions and high-stakes betting: the football pyramid appears on shaky ground | football

I We were invited to speak on Monday evening in a panel discussion on the ethics of football, and specifically, the Owners and Directors Test: In short, how we can bring the ‘right’ type of owners into the game. The announcement of the mini-budget last week by the government made me think casually about this issue and what place regulations occupy in football.

Liz Truss and Kwasi Quarting have been only clear about what they stand for – we are in an era of liberalization, tax cuts, and growth at any cost. I understand the logic of trying to grow the economy and use the income generated from taxes for community investment. The problem is that this is an amplification of the current model of capitalism over the past fifty years in which we have concentrated wealth in fewer and fewer people. The UK Gini index, which measures inequality, has risen steadily since 1977, from 25% to 36.3%And a House of Commons Library study showed that the top 1% of earners globally are on the right track to almost dominate 64% of global wealth by 2030. Both erode our democracy and our sense of justice. In society, relative inequality matters not only at the moral level, but also because it leads to political instability. We doubled that last week.

The current ideological shift towards deregulation would also be a disaster for the English Football League and the broader football pyramid. In 2021 the diagnosis and recommendations made by him Tracy Crouch in Fan Led review It was crystal clear that free market ideology and unfettered globalization put the national game at risk and devalued the societies in which the clubs were rooted. And while the game on an aggregate level increases its reach and global fortune, it creates market distortions for all of those outside the top. Premier League. The global growth of the game attracts the type of investors who are willing to take high risks and incur heavy losses, and investors who have nothing to do with the local communities in which their assets are located. Domestic supporters are of diminishing importance as match-day revenues dwarf the potential of a global television audience.

The same logic and the failure of the free market were clear in European League disaster. The international investors at the economic top of the heap tried to consolidate and enrich their financial interests further, and all this was done without any regard for those in the pyramid who over the past hundred years had collectively created the conditions for their current success. Football is the failure of fluctuating economics that manifests itself, in which those at the top pay dividends and create stock value while those at the bottom look to benefactors to make up for losses due to emotion and often irrationality. One has only to look at Derby and Puri and Wigan for recent examples.

When we went through the purchase of Grimsby Town last year, my business partner and I were tested by the owners and managers of the Premier League, primarily to try to test our ability to underwrite losses and take on the debts of our local football team. The framework and terms of the test are set out publicly and are often criticized after the fact, when the owner performs poorly and then – the English Football League is accused of being unable to exclude unsuitable candidates for football ownership. Regulation should never be seen as the way to fully own the burden of monitoring our game. The role of the regulator and proprietary tests about merit – eligibility To be an owner, not a kingRelevance. In fact, the fit can only be known after someone gets the keys.

Grimsby Town is currently 10th in League Two.
Grimsby Town is currently 10th in League Two. Photography: Anna Gothorpe/Shutterstock

The English Football League has the impossible role of not wanting football clubs to limit investment while at the same time having access to objectively determined data on the back of potential investors. Any test of character and moral fortitude for the journey ahead is difficult at best and impossible at worst. More importantly, by focusing on testing, it sets an unrealistic expectation that testing owners and managers is the moral limit we can use to stop the “wrong” kind of people crossing into ownership.

There are many practical recommendations on how to improve the operation and development process, a number of which have been made by the FairGame Alliance of which Grimsby is proud to be a member along with over 30 other clubs. However, we should not be distracted by the endless attempts to strengthen the administrative regulation because we will miss the most important recommendation in the Fan Led review, which is the need for an independent regulator. The sustainable distribution of cash through hierarchical and fair limits on salaries and expenses is a priority so that we can attract a more rational, long-term, community-focused investor to the game. When the only people who can own football clubs are by definition those who are willing to lose money, something is clearly wrong.

I have been told, only half-jokingly, that anyone who wants to own a club on these terms is probably not really “fit and proper”. If there is a way to deal with financial sustainability, we will be able to attract a larger group of potential investors and possibly get more clubs into fan ownership.

The main way to solve the problem of getting the right investors into football is not by trying to find an objective measure of personality but by creating a sustainable financial framework that fits all. The current model creates a level of inequality and high-risk behavior that attracts many owners who are willing to bet huge fortunes on the chance of achieving Premier League status. This, in turn, distorts the economies of those clubs that are trying to build within their capabilities. This disparity is very important in football for more than reasons of sustainability; It is the extractive version of capitalism that over time depletes the ecosystem on which it is built.

All markets operate within some limitations and laws to make them last. This is an important moment for football and an independent regulator is needed more than ever.

Jason Stockwood is the mayor of Grimsby.

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