The Non-League Football Paper
HARRIS: WE AWAIT FULL ANSWERS...
MARK HARRIS, chairman of the Northern Premier League, believes the “devil will be in the detail” after the government gave the green light for an independent football regulator.
Harris feels, from a Non-League perspective, it will largely be “inconsequential” because it applies only down to fifth tier of English football.
But he says that can also been seen as a compliment with the much trumpeted new club licensing system already in place at Steps 1-4.
Harris points out clubs “historically have not always been very good at telling the authorities, or admitting, they’re in trouble” and awaits clarification on how the regulator will be funded and wield its power.
“I think the devil is in the detail,” Harris said. “Who is going to manage it? Who is going to be pay for the managing of it? And sanctions are only ever as good as the people who are prepared to impose them.
“If you want an effective sanction, you’ve got to be prepared to use it.
“So I think there are a number of issues which are more for the professional game than the
“But my overall view is, you have the independent regulator, but if it’s only going down to Step 1, you’ve still got over 900 football clubs – the vast majority of who will have an owner of some kind – so where are the protections?
“Of course we have the club licensing scheme within the National League System at Steps 1 to 4. But the owners and directors’ test absolutely needs to be overhauled.
“We need to understand more what the interventions are, the powers available to the regulator and are we going to inadvertently create a ‘get out of jail card’ for owners who do not have their club’s best interests at heart?”
Harris presented to the Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review principally around the sharing of monies throughout the whole of the game.
But he believes there is naivety if people are expecting big handouts and expects the argument to run and run.
“If I had a criticism of the Premier League, it’s they don’t actually shout about what they already do,” he said. “I have sympathy. There’s a lot of mouths to feed.”