Clause 54 - Duties to notify and consult the IFR

Football Governance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:12 pm ar 21 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Assistant Whip, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Equalities)

Amendment 23 will correct a cross-reference in the Bill, to ensure that clause 54(1)(b) correctly refers to section 24.

Clause 54 outlines the circumstances in which a relevant league must notify the regulator whether, for example, it believes or suspects that a club has breached one of the league’s own rules that is relevant to the regulator’s regime. The clause also requires that a relevant league consult the regulator when it is considering changing its own competition rules where a rule is relevant to the regulator’s regime. Just as the regulator is required to consult the industry in certain circumstances, these duties on relevant leagues will ensure appropriate notification and consultation in the other direction, too. If a relevant league has certain pertinent information, given its knowledge and understanding of the football industry, it must tell the regulator. Equally, if the relevant league is intending to take certain action that might impact on the regulator’s regime, it must engage with the regulator. That will allow for co-operative regulation whereby information is pooled and action can be co-ordinated. That should help both the regulator and the relevant leagues to deliver their respective regulations more effectively, and ultimately minimise the overall burden on clubs.

Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

Clause 54, with the correction made by amendment 23, is one of the only measures in the Bill that directly places duties on competition organisers. As I have made clear throughout these Committee proceedings, I believe it is extremely important that the regulator has a constructive relationship with existing football governance structures where possible, and that they work together to ensure a coherent regulatory regime. This clause will ensure that by placing a clear duty on competition organisers to keep the regulator updated on the enforcement of its own rules, as well as on areas where they might have information that overlaps with the regulator’s remit.

It is good to see, for example, that competition organisers will report to the regulator on any risk to financial resilience, as well as on any breach of specified competition rules and any subsequent sanctions they are placing on clubs. Competitions will also have to consult the regulator before adding to their own rules; this, again, is a positive step which will hopefully prevent any such rules from undermining the regulator.

However, I do think there needs to be further consideration for how the respective regimes will work when rules and regulation overlap. Ultimately, although the regulator will be consulted on new rules, competition organisers have the final say. The Government’s White Paper says:

“Where rules of industry bodies stray into the Regulator’s remit, the Regulator would have oversight to ensure that regulations are coherent and effective.”

I would like to ask the Minister, therefore, whether he thinks that the regulator has all the powers it needs to make sure that the landscape is coherent and effective when there is crossover. This is important for all of those who enforce rules in football, as well as for clubs.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment 23 accordingly agreed to.

Clause 54, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.