Ministers kick off search for new football referee

Business

Ministers are to kick off a search for the inaugural chair of the new football watchdog, even as it faces growing hints of opposition to its establishment from the Premier League.

Sky News has learnt that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will launch the appointment process for the role at the Independent Football Regulator (IFR) as soon as this week.

The chair, who is expected to be paid a six-figure salary, will be responsible for overseeing a landmark period in the English game.

The regulator will have three primary objectives, including promoting clubs’ financial sustainability and the financial resilience of English football as a whole.

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It will also be charged with safeguarding the heritage of clubs, including their badges and traditional playing colours.

The IFR will have the power to prevent clubs from joining breakaway competitions, inspired by the putative efforts of English football’s big six clubs to join a European Super League.

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Its establishment through primary legislation comes amid an ongoing impasse between the Premier League and English Football League about future financial distributions.

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Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, is among the names who have been touted as potential chairs of the IFR.

Last week, Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, warned in an article for The Times that more intrusive regulation could “undermine the Premier League’s global success, thereby wounding the goose that provides English football’s golden egg”.

A DCMS spokesman declined to comment on Thursday morning.

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