KEIR RADNEDGE COMMENTARY —- The oft-delayed and long-awaited review of Engish football has finally come up with proposals which include an independent regulator for English football to license clubs and – somehow – ensure they remain financially stable.

The system is akin to the one operated for many years in Germany by the Bundesliga.

Fears had been expressed that the ideas would see English football risking falling foul of world federation FIFA’s prohibition on political interference but while the controls remain purely administrative and financial that appears unlikely.

Under the proposals clubs will be required to seek regulator approval for any sale or change of stadium, and fans will be given a greater say in stopping owners changing club names, badges and home shirt colours – issues which raised particular anger in Cardiff and Hull.

What’s in a name? Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium

The regulator will also be given the power to stop English football clubs from joining new competitions that “harm the domestic game” such as, obviously, the putative European Super League. Ironically, if these proposals had been in operation in 1990 the Premier League would never have come into being.

The fan-focused review was led by Conservative MP Tracey Crouch and the recommendations will be published in a government white paper.

The trigger for the review was the collapse in 2021 of traditional old clubs Bury and Macclesfield Town through mismanagement. Since the Premier League was launched in 1992, 64 clubs have been put into administration.

The review says there continues to be “serious financial risk” in the leagues. The combined net debt of clubs in the Premier League and Championship was £5.9bn at the end of the 2020-21 season.

However the suggestion that these new rules would prevent “historic clubs” going bankrupt raised questions over whether the regulator would possess a bottomless purse to bail them out and whether, in such a circumstance, club owners might feel less pressured to maintain financial stability.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak , not a known football fan, welcomed the review, saying: “Since its inception over 165 years ago, English football has been bringing people together, providing a source of pride for communities and inspiration to millions of fans across the country.

“Yet despite the success of the sport both at home and abroad, we know that there are real challenges which threaten the stability of clubs both big and small.

“These bold new plans will put fans back at the heart of football, protect the rich heritage and traditions of our much-loved clubs and safeguard the beautiful game for future generations.”

Lucy Powell, the Labour opposition’s Shadow secretary for digital, culture, media and sport urged the government to bring forward legislation as a matter of urgency.

She said: “In the 15 months it’s taken the government to finally publish a football white paper, Derby County nearly went under, Oldham Athletic was relegated, Chelsea changed hands and Manchester United, Newcastle, Liverpool and Bournemouth were all put up for sale.

“The Premier League and English Football League still haven’t reached a deal on finances. And now a European Super League 2.0 is back on the table.”

A similar review into the future of domestic women’s football is already under way.