Sir Keir Starmer rules out 10% levy on Premier League transfers under Labour

<span>Keir Starmer and Thangam Debbonaire (left) outlined Labour’s plans to reform football governance on a visit to Bristol Rovers.</span><span>Photograph: Geoff Caddick/Getty Images</span>
Keir Starmer and Thangam Debbonaire (left) outlined Labour’s plans to reform football governance on a visit to Bristol Rovers.Photograph: Geoff Caddick/Getty Images

Labour will not introduce a 10% tax on Premier League transfers, Sir Keir Starmer has said after reports his party was considering the move.

Shadow culture and sport secretary Thangam Debbonaire sparked reports Labour could introduce the transfer levy on Monday when she said she would “look at everything” proposed in the recent fan-led review of football governance.

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But on Tuesday morning, Starmer killed off the idea, telling LBC’s Nick Ferrari it was “not part of our plans for football governance”. Asked about introducing the levy, the Labour leader said: “Let me just kill it dead, we’re not looking at that.”

The 10% levy was proposed in the fan-led review chaired by former Conservative MP Dame Tracey Crouch in 2021. Described as a “solidarity transfer levy”, it would have taxed transfers between Premier League clubs and between Premier League clubs and overseas sides, with the money being redistributed further down the football pyramid.

The review estimated a 10% levy would have raised £160million per year between 2016 and 2021, enough to fund a grant to ensure League One and Two clubs broke even – along with grassroots playing facilities for adults and children.

Debbonaire’s comments came as Starmer announced plans for Labour to introduce its own football governance bill that would prevent breakaways and make sure lower-tier clubs are financially sustainable. In 2021, six English clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – announced they would join a new European Super League, which was scrapped two days later following a public backlash.

In its manifesto, Labour said: “We will never allow a closed league of select clubs to be siphoned off from the English football pyramid.” Speaking on Monday, Starmer added: “Too often, clubs and fans are being let down by the wild west within the football pyramid. That’s why we will legislate for the long-awaited independent football regulator.

“In the face of continued threats of breakaways from some European clubs, we have to do this. On my watch, there will be no super league-style breakaways from English football.”