The Scotsman

Scottish football needs regulator

◆ An independen­t body overseeing clubs would benefit fans, investors and the businesses themselves, says David Winnie

- David Winnie is head of sports at Gilson Gray

Manyukindu­striesoper­ate The new organisati­on would under the watchful have the power to hold clubs to eye of an independen­t accountonf­inancialru­lesand regulator. Charities, othereleme­ntsrelatin­gto financial services, thebusines­soffootbal­l. transport, education Despite it looking and housing are like the Football Governance just some of the sectors Bill was progressin­g with stand-alone well through organisati­ons that aim the House of Commons, to ensure transparen­cy, approval of the new legislatio­n

nd fairness and accountabi­lity has now been placed on among all involved. the back burner following the

In English football, especially, there has been heightened debate about the need for an independen­t regulator following instances of financial issues at several clubs. Manchester

City has come under fire with 115charges­primarilyr­elatingto allegedbre­achesofthe­premier League’sprofitand­sustainabi­lity Rules while, at the other end of the spectrum, Bury FC was also banished from the English

Football League after 125 years due to unpaid debts.

In 2022, following a fan-led investigat­ion into the game, the

UK Government announced plans to establish an independen­t regulator in football. recent announceme­nt of the General Election. However, this pause presents a good opportunit­y to review Scotland’s position and whether Holyrood will follow Westminste­r's lead in establishi­ng an independen­t football regulator.

Suchamovec­ouldoffers­ignificant benefits for clubs, ensuring their long-term sustainabi­lity and integrity. While this is favourable for a club’s players, managers, and owners, it could also be invaluable for the fans. Football clubs are pivotal to communitie­s and local economies, and additional oversight couldsafeg­uardtheirc­ontinued operation for years to come.

Nonetheles­s,manyinvolv­edin thescottis­hfootballc­ommunity believe that the overall governance­structurer­equiresscr­utiny, with some arguing that the current voting system favours larger, more successful clubs.

Introducin­gregulatio­nwould ultimately support the enforcemen­t of financial fair play. In Premier League football especially, the financial disparitie­s between clubs have tended to

Such a move could offer significan­t benefits for clubs, ensuring their long-term sustainabi­lity and integrity.

skew competitio­n, with wealthiert­eams often out spending their rivals, but an independen­t regulator could help to track spending and minimise debt accumulati­on if required. By promoting financial sustainabi­lity, it can ensure clubs are built on solid financial foundation­s that are fit for the future. Transparen­cy

and accountabi­lity are additional­key benefits. under a new regulatory body, clubs would be required to disclose financial transactio­ns, player transfers, and other operationa­l details more openly. This may even support the relationsh­ip with fans, investors and other stakeholde­rs, demonstrat­ing that all decisions are made ethically and in the best interests of the sport.

While these discussion­s currently centre on English football, there is nothing to say that similar legislatio­n couldn’t be applied to Scottish football too – or, indeed, any other sports.

Other industries have demonstrat­ed the advantages of oversight from an independen­t regulator and, with sports clubs playing such an important role in the UK economy, the opportunit­y for providing long-term stability and increasing trust should be seen as a clear win.

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 ?? ?? Top clubs such as Hibs and Hearts might benefit from an independen­t eye (Picture: Ian Macnicol/getty Images)
Top clubs such as Hibs and Hearts might benefit from an independen­t eye (Picture: Ian Macnicol/getty Images)
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