Liz Truss and Premier League gear up to bring regulation in touch

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No wonder the Premier League played ‘wait and see’ about their offer to the EFL, while a free-marketer is the new prime minister.

The pushback has been quiet, almost silent, but the power of lobbying has fully manifested itself this week with the completely unsurprising news that the new government formed by Liz Truss, a woman whose opinion is sincere as long as she can benefit from it, is now hesitating. on the introduction of an independent football regulator.

What else would you expect from someone who continues to believe that the discredited notion of trickle down economy has value to anyone but the very rich? And who believes that tax cuts for the richest are somehow an appropriate response to a cost of living crisis likely to engulf millions of people this winter?

Of course, there has always been a sense that this would be undone at some point. It is not instinctive for a Conservative government to want to regulate something that could curb the wealthiest from taking control of everything. But where Boris Johnson was an unabashed populist, Truss has already made it pretty clear where her priorities lie.

She had no intention of doing anything about rising fuel bills until it became clear that the prospects of this would be disastrous for her, and she has already spoken publicly about making “unpopular decisions” as if highlighting this to the exclusion of any other considerations are a kind of badge of honor rather than usually a trait found in a borderline sociopath.

None of this should come as a surprise.

The report in The Times confirming all this stops a little shy to confirm it will be kicked into the long grass and forgotten. It’s full of what we can only assume they think will be improving phrases such as “government would prefer to avoid legislation if at all possible,” and “government insiders insist that legislation is part of it.” remains part of the arsenal when football fails. to reach an acceptable agreement with the FA, Premier League and EFL’.

Can there really be an agreement between the Premier League and the rest that will actually change the way football is run without outside influence? It doesn’t seem likely that anything will happen that will change the status quo in any way. The Premier League has been getting what it wants, when it wants for the past 30 years, and we must not forget that this is an organization created specifically and explicitly to cut the rest of football off from what they saw as their television money and theirs alone.

At every step of the way over the past three decades, the game in this country has been played with only the best interests of that wealthy elite at heart, and if you’re looking for evidence of that, we need only look at the example. of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).

The youth development reforms introduced in 2011 ended the ’90-minute rule’ (allowing clubs to have a catchment area outside of which they could not contract players under the age of 18), preventing the biggest clubs from recruiting youth players. young age away from home for training.

It was alleged at the time that EFL clubs that voted through the changes had little choice once they were in effect ‘blackmailed’ by the Premier League under the threat of withdrawing all youth development funding. Steve Parish, the chairman of Crystal Palace, described EPPP at the time as ‘a brazen attempt by the Premier League’s wealthy elite to pick the best youngsters from Football League clubs so they can comply with UEFA’s new rules on how many homegrown players should be in their first team’.

Several EFL clubs have closed or downgraded their academies after this passed because it was no longer financially viable to continue.

Looking at the way the Premier League behaved at the time and the extent to which clubs have since been annexed by an even more extreme taste of plutocrat, does anyone seriously believe that Premier League clubs will sit down with the intention of doing something other than the bare minimum? that it is possible to keep the just train rolling for itself?

News from Truss’s upside-down fret about this, when she… indicated during her leadership campaign that she would support a regulator, came just days after the hint of what was to come was presented in the form of Premier League clubs play ‘wait and see’ about what offer they would make, precisely on the assumption that such a thing would happen.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that they probably already knew this was going to end here. No wonder, after an earlier talk about the Premier League meeting on the matter, the only news that came out was about banning fans caught using fireworks.

So what can we expect next? The new breed of Premier League club owner may be interested in pursuing European Super League II or Project Even Bigger Picture. The Owners & Directors Test will not be reinforced. And who knows what other innovations they would see on the table now. The news that the government will almost certainly do nothing to curb them seems to result in more ‘blue sky’ thinking in the Premier League than anything else.

And in the meantime, if you want to express your displeasure with this volte face, you can: sign a petition here. It may not be enough. To someone of the Prime Minister’s persuasion, the opinions of the little people may not count. But given that football’s regulatory landscape is no different from when Bury was kicked out of the EFL – the first League club to suffer that fate in 26 years – it must be worth the throw.

Without effective regulation, it’s only a matter of time before the ‘next Bury’ comes into view, or before the next Project Big Picture or European Super League arrives. The power of lobbying is unlikely to end with stopping effective game reform, no matter how hard it is.