Ministers hire consultants to help design new football regulator

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A leading consultancy firm has been drafted in by the government to help design a new independent body that will be charged with regulating English football.

Sky News has learnt that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has hired New York-based Oliver Wyman to work on aspects of Whitehall’s response to former sports minister Tracey Crouch’s review of football’s governance.

One of Ms Crouch’s principal recommendations, the establishment of IREF – the Independent Regulator for English Football – has drawn a mixed response from the game’s governing bodies and administrators.

Fan Led Review author and former sports minister Tracey Crouch speaks to Sky News.
Former sports minister Tracey Crouch

Ministers have indicated that the government will formally respond to the review during the spring, paving the way for a significant shake-up in the way changes to clubs’ ownership are scrutinised.

The value of the contract awarded to Oliver Wyman by the DCMS is unclear.

The Football Association this week rejected suggestions that it was opposed to the idea of an independent regulator, but argued that it should be housed as a unit within the game’s governing body.

An FA spokesperson said: “We are in ongoing discussions with key stakeholders across the game about the potential structure of an independent regulator that can best serve every level of English football.

“The report identified that the regulator could potentially sit within The FA, subject to enacting the recommended changes to our governance.

“We are working through that model as an option, given our regulatory experience and current role in the game.”

A DCMS spokesman confirmed Oliver Wyman’s appointment, but declined to comment further.

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