Dame Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport, has welcomed legislation that will empower the voices of football fans.

Introduced to Parliament the Football Governance Bill will establish in law an Independent Football Regulator which will be given comprehensive powers to work with clubs to improve their finances, create stronger tests for proposed club owners and safeguard clubs’ heritage.

It follows a number of threats to the game that have arisen without fan consultation; these have included club relocations, the creation of the European Super League and drastic alterations to the identity of clubs which have threatened their heritage, as well as the collapse of football clubs like Bury and Macclesfield due to unsustainable finances.

Caroline has long called for the establishment of a football regulator following the publication of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, in November 2021. She has continued to do so through her ongoing work on the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee, most recently at a Committee Session on Tuesday 16 January, when she quizzed Richard Masters, Premier League CEO, and Mick Parry, CEO of the English Football League (https://x.com/cj_dinenage/status/1747293123259011427?s=20).

Speaking in response to the introduction of the Football Governance Bill, Caroline said:  “Football clubs are the lifeblood of communities up and down the country, and that means fans should have a stake in how they are run.

“The failure of English football’s wealthiest clubs to agree a deal is putting at risk the very fabric of our national game and has dragged on for far too long.

“Today’s firm step towards the introduction of a statutory regulator to hold these clubs to account, the blocking of breakaway competitions like the European Super League, and the stronger tests for owners and directors gives some hope that teams right down the pyramid that are so important to their local communities, can have a sustainable future.”

Commenting, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Football has long been one of our greatest sources of national pride. Up and down the country, it brings people together in celebration or commiseration.

“But for too long some clubs have been abused by unscrupulous owners who get away with financial mismanagement, which at worst can lead to complete collapse – as we saw in the upsetting cases of Bury and Macclesfield Town.

“This Bill is a historic moment for football fans –it will make sure their voices are front and centre, prevent a breakaway league, protect the financial sustainability of clubs, and protect the heritage of our clubs big and small.”

Commenting, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “Football is nothing without its fans. We are determined to put them back at the heart of the game and ensure clubs as vital community assets continue to thrive.

“The new Independent Regulator of Football will set the game on a sustainable footing, strengthening clubs and the entire football pyramid for generations.”