EFL chief sees progress but no fast solution in ‘proper rethink’ of English game

Rick Parry claims ‘the idea that we’ll sort it easily with the Premier League is not going to happen’.

By Press Association Published: 9 May 2022 - 1.26pm

Rick Parry has stressed the EFL will be doing “everything we can to make sure momentum is not lost” with regard to the fan-led review of English football.

Two weeks ago the Government formally endorsed recommendations made in the review chaired by Conservative MP Tracey Crouch that was published last November.

The recommendations include fairer distribution of money from the top down the football pyramid and the creation of an independent regulator to ensure the game’s financial sustainability.

There has been no firm timetable for legislation, with further detail to be published by the Government in a white paper this summer.

Talks between the EFL and the Premier League over funding have been ongoing.

And when asked if discussions had been accelerated by the Government saying a regulator would be given the power to impose a solution if agreement between the parties could not be reached, EFL chairman Parry told the PA news agency: “No, they haven’t really.

“Our desire to have a reset and rethink predate the fan-led review. We’ve been saying it for two years. We thought Tracey Crouch did a great job in producing the review and that the Government’s response is well thought through and constructive.

Talks between Parry's EFL and the Premier League over funding have been ongoing (Mike Egerton/PA).
Talks between Parry’s EFL and the Premier League over funding have been ongoing (Mike Egerton/PA).

“We’re a little frustrated that it’s not going to be in the Queen’s Speech (on Tuesday) and will be going into a white paper – but equally we understand the logic of that because this does have to be thought through properly.

“From our point, we think progress is being made. We think this is a brilliant opportunity to have a proper rethink. But the idea that we’ll sort it easily with the Premier League is not going to happen.”

Parry added: “The Government response is another step in the right direction.

“We’d love to be moving more quickly, but it’s really important to get this properly thought through. This isn’t about a tinkering, it’s about a proper rethink because really we want to create something that’s going to last for at least the next 30 years. It’s not about constantly having to revisit. So if it takes a bit longer, it takes a bit longer.

“We think progress is being made. We think this is a brilliant opportunity to have a proper rethink. But the idea that we'll sort it easily with the Premier League is not going to happen.”
- Rick Parry

“We understand the Government’s position. The vast majority of legislation requires white papers.

“From our point of view, we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure momentum is not lost.

“I think there are a lot of MPs that recognise the importance of this issue. It’s a brilliant levelling up agenda item, we think, so it’s something the Government really ought to be looking at seriously.

“It has challenges, but it’s not that complex, and we’ll be doing everything we can to keep it top of mind.”

Parry was speaking at the National Football Museum in Manchester, where an exhibition was being launched to celebrate the EFL’s four-year partnership with mental health charity Mind, and marking the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Parry said: “I think it’s really good that over the last few years the awareness of mental health challenges within sport have been highlighted.

“Probably in years gone by, it was something that was difficult to talk about. Hopefully that barrier is being broken and there is a recognition that people within football, and football supporters, are just as likely to face mental health challenges as anybody else, and it’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to bring out into the open and address constructively.

“I think the partnership with Mind has helped us to address that, and I think the beauty of it is that although the four years are coming to an end, the legacy will be that that awareness, the relationships with clubs, the fact we have so many people able to spot mental health issues and engage with people – will go on forever.”

BT Sport Monthly Pass

Join the home of live sport for just £25 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.