Gary Neville berates Premier League chiefs for their ‘hostile language’ at fan-led review

Gary Neville denounces ‘arrogant’ Premier League chiefs for their ‘hostile language’ after comparing independent regulator recommendations and a transfer tax with living in China or North Korea

  • Clubs gathered last Friday to discuss Tracey Crouch’s fan-led football review
  • They strongly oppose an independent regulator and a transfer tax
  • But a compromise deal could be a regulator operating within FA structures


Gary Neville has criticized Premier League owners for their ‘hostile’ reaction to plans for an independent football regulator.

Premier League clubs met last Friday to discuss Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review of football.

The wide-ranging review, promised by the government as part of its manifesto for the 2019 general election, has called for the creation of an Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF).

Premier League strongly opposes Tracey Crouch’s reform proposals

The inquiry made 47 recommendations, including an independent football regulator and a 10 percent tax on Premier League transfers.

Clubs are against both major recommendations.

Neville told Sky Sports: “I think 95 percent of EFL clubs, national league clubs and fans are behind the fan-led review, it says on the tin.

Born through the stress of football, Bury was the precursor to it because people accepted that this couldn’t happen again. But what happened in Covid and the actions of the Premier League have accelerated this.

Angus Kinnear made the comparison in his program notes ahead of Leeds' match with Crystal Palace

Former Communist leader of China Mao Zedong was responsible for the Great Chinese Famine, which is estimated to have claimed the lives of tens of millions of people

Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear (left) has compared the assessment of football board’s recommendations with the regime under Mao Zedong (right) in China

“The five stakeholders are doing very well for their interests, but no one really represents the interests of English football. The FA doesn’t really have power, they say they have it, but they don’t, the Premier League controls power in this country. We have seen some rather unfortunate and unacceptable actions which only mean that English football needs that independence and transparency.

I don’t think it’s right that the bottom of the Premier League gets £100 million and the top of the championship £95 million less. That’s too big a gap.

“When you’re in the Premier League, you’re in a bubble, but when you’re in League Two or non-league, you feel like the distribution of wealth is unfair and needs to be adjusted. I think the regulator’s number 1 job should be to protect the quality of the Premier League, it can be.

“Football clubs are too important not to have better governance, more independence and transparency. Football clubs are incredibly important and heritage people live for their lives every week. This is a great opportunity to reset English football. I had hoped and it didn’t happen that the Premier League would have stepped in and come to the table. Adjust English football a little bit, we’re not talking £5bn or stupid Premier League figures. The money must be sent under certain conditions.

West Ham chief Karren Brady (above) compared regulations to living in North Korea or Russia

West Ham chief Karren Brady (above) compared regulations to living in North Korea or Russia

“There has been quite hostile language from Premier League owners. There is no unintended consequence of this report, they were really intelligent football people from all parts of the game, you can’t say that panel didn’t do a thorough job. It is rather ignorant and arrogant to suggest that people in the panel have created unintended consequences.

“I think it’s smart for the Premier League to tell their representatives to stop doing interviews because it won’t help their own cause.”

Gary Neville lashes out at Premier League owners for their 'hostile' reaction

Gary Neville lashes out at Premier League owners for their ‘hostile’ reaction

The Eredivisie’s position is that it is in principle open to an independent supervisor, as long as it operates within the existing football structures.

The power of feeling is very strong among clubs against a supervisor and the 10 percent tax.

Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear has taken an unsavory goal in the fan-led overhaul of football governing body – by comparing its recommendations to the Maoist regime in China responsible for a famine that cost millions.

However, Kinnear wrote in his program notes ahead of Leeds’ match against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night, saying: “Football is a private sector and has blossomed that way.

Imposing a philosophy on football akin to Maoist collective farming policies (which the students of ‘The Great Leap Forward’ will know culminated in the greatest famine in history) will not make the English game fairer, will kill the competition that is his lifeline.

“Teams further up the pyramid don’t have to artificially inflate their resources, they have to live in them.”

West Ham chief Karren Brady compared regulations to living in North Korea or Russia

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