With negotiations still yet to be finalised on the ‘New Deal’ between the Premier League and the English Football League (EFL), the UK government has warned its newly established independent regulator may step in. 

Negotiations stalled last December after the 20 Premier League clubs were not unanimously in favour of the proposed £915m to send to EFL clubs, a part of a supportive package that would enable lower league clubs to close the wealth gap between them and Premier League clubs. 

Sky News reported last December that clubs in England’s top-flight, in particular ‘Big Six’ clubs, are wary that sending the £915m could inadvertently cause “serious financial damage” to Premier League clubs. 

A majority vote of 14 Premier League clubs will be needed in order for a deal to be agreed upon, which is set to be over a six-year period. 

However, the delays in agreeing the New Deal has drawn the ire of the government, with Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, stating at the recent Financial Times Business of Football Conference on Thursday (29 February) that the independent regulator may intervene if not finalised. 

Whilst admitting that “we don’t want this to be an issue for the regulator” in regards to the New Deal, Frazer has called upon the agreement to be sped up. 

She said: “We don’t want this to be an issue for the regulator. We have been really clear from the outset that football should resolve the issues in football. 

“We want the Premier League and the EFL to come to a deal that is in both their interests. They know what they should be negotiating and what the best outcome is for both of them.

“We’ve been very, very clear we would like football to come to a resolution on a deal. We’ve also been clear that if they don’t, the regulator will.”

Financial problems have repeatedly plagued lower-league English clubs in recent years, with more teams going into administration which has seen the collapse of clubs like Bury FC. 

These instances have seen the calls for an independent football regulator to be established, which was finally signed off as part of the UK’s Football Governance bill. 

During the King’s Speech last November, the bill sought to significantly strengthen the current owners’ and directors’ test, in order to safeguard the clubs from unfit owners and prevent English clubs from joining any other breakaway leagues, such as the European Super League

The bill also includes greater funding across the English football pyramid to ensure the game is being safeguarded and developed upwards from the grassroots level.

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