Neville, Lineker join campaign to begin new football regulator

Gary Neville and Gary Lineker are involved in a new campaign calling for a football regulator to be introduced, which would prevent any Super League going ahead.

They have signed an open letter alongside other former footballers, fan representatives and members of the media, calling for the public to sign a UK government petition.

The letter says it’s ‘time to act’, and that the signees were ‘appalled’ by the failed European Super League.

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“It was a direct threat to the integrity of the game; destroying the concept of sporting merit and open competition,” it reads.

“Supporters came together with one voice to oppose the cynical power-grab by a group of wealthy owners. The furious protests were heard and the breakaway fell apart.

“Now we must make sure this never happens again. Without swift and direct intervention, the return of a European Super League will be a constant threat.

“We welcome the fan-led Government review of the game and hope it leads to lasting change on an array of important concerns; including co-ordinated strategies to deal with racism, supporters’ representation within clubs, LGBTQ issues, ticket costs and the distribution of income. All of those aims can be realised if we take decisive action now.

“It is time to act. We support:

  • Government legislation to block any Premier League clubs attempting to abandon the country’s football pyramid.
  • The appointment of an Independent Football Regulator.”

Neville and Lineker are joined by former players Jamie Carragher, Rio Ferdinand and Micah Richards in signing the letter.

12 European clubs shocked fans around the world on April 18 by revealing they had signed up to a new breakaway competition.

The Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – were all involved, much to the anger of their fans.

But just 48 hours later, the plans were shelved following immense backlash from supporters, former players and sports media.

The Super League was also brought down by its own lack of PR. During the disastrous two days of its existence, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was the only one to speak openly about the plans.

The ESL still remains a threat to the sport, however, as the open letter states.

Perez, along with Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli and Barcelona officials, is keen to make the competition work.

As a result, Neville and Lineker are hoping government legislation will be able to prevent such plans from ever being brought to fruition.

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Currently, the government is involved in a fan-led review into football. But many think more radical changes are needed, such as a 50+1 fan ownership model.

That kind of strategy, used to great effect in the German Bundesliga, puts supporters right in the mix of club decisions.

It helped to prevent German champions Bayern Munich and rivals Borussia Dortmund from being involved in the ESL.

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