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Labour commit to blocking European Super League in election manifesto

A member of the public wears a "Vote Labour" rosette during the Labour Party election manifesto booklet launch - Labour commit to blocking European Super League in election manifesto
A member of the public wears a "Vote Labour" rosette during the election manifesto booklet launch - Getty Images/Oli Scarff

Labour have promised to stop all future club plots to break away from the English football pyramid in a manifesto pledge to press ahead with a new regulator.

However, Sir Keir Starmer faces immediate calls to hand a new watchdog more powers than the version being introduced by the current government.

The fan-led review and subsequent football governance bill were borne out of international outrage over England’s so-called “Big Six” plotting to join a European Super League in 2021. That concept came after protests had also erupted over a domestic breakaway idea, Project Big Picture.

Labour have now joined the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in formally committing to the regulator in their manifesto ahead of next month’s general election. “We will never allow a closed league of select clubs to be siphoned off from the English football pyramid,” the party say.

The current government confirmed plans for a regulator last year, but the election called last month left no time for the required legislation to be passed.

Labour’s shadow secretary for culture and sport, Thangam Debbonaire, said three weeks ago that current plans need to go further to protect the financial sustainability of clubs. Her party’s manifesto says: “Labour is committed to making Britain the best place in the world to be a football fan. We will reform football governance to protect football clubs across our communities and to give fans a greater say in the way they are run. We will introduce a football governance bill, which will establish an independent regulator to ensure financial sustainability of football clubs in England.”

Niall Couper, chief executive of campaign group Fair Game, urged Labour to stand by their indication that the regulator will have more teeth that the Conservative version.

“The current state of football is deeply concerning, and meaningful change is urgently needed,” he said. “While the previous bill’s falling through was disappointing, we now have a chance to correct its flaws and implement robust solutions. So it is particularly pleasing to see a commitment to ensuring financial sustainability of football clubs.

“We are eager to work with the next government to prioritise the future of football and ensure that a comprehensive new bill is introduced in the first session - one which establishes a fairer financial flow in the game, guarantees the regulator’s independence, and rewards well-managed clubs.”

Fair Game, a group which represents a number of professional clubs, had recently proposed an amendment to the current government’s football governance bill in an effort to stop FA Cup replays being scrapped.