Fan Led Review: Recommendations For Women’s Football

Today the Fan-led Review chair Tracey Crouch MP has written to the Government with her initial findings, which recommend wholesale reform to the rules governing football throughout the pyramid. This includes that a new independent regulator, along with other significant reforms to football’s governance, is urgently needed to protect the game’s future according to the interim report from the Fan-led Review.

Crouch said, “In order to protect the future key aspects of our national game a new independent regulator for English football (IREF) is needed,” Crouch told the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP. Football clubs are not ordinary businesses. They play a critical social, civic, and cultural role in their local communities. They need to be protected.”

Crouch and her team of panellists have taken part in long and thorough meetings with every stakeholder imaginable, including many within the women’s game. I was fortunate enough to have taken part in this review, playing a part in a presentation and Q&A in partnership with the women’s network of the Football Supporters Association whom we are members. 

I used my time to explain that the review must recognise that it is vital there is investment in the Women's National League and the leagues below, in order to maintain a realistic pathway to compete in the top leagues without relying on the backing of a rich Premier League affiliated club.

On the growth of the women’s game, Tracey said, “The growth and popularity of women’s football in recent years is hugely encouraging. However, the Panel has heard much evidence that the sport is now at a critical juncture facing complex and difficult decisions regarding the best approach to take for future stability and growth at both elite and grassroots levels. I believe that improvements in corporate governance of clubs and football authorities under a new regulator will benefit the women’s game as much as the men’s game. As noted above, I also believe that there should be consideration of the money flowing into the women’s game and exploration of ways that funding can be increased.

“However, it is more difficult to discern the right model for the future structure of women’s football and the evidence from those within the game has been varied. I believe it is crucial to get these issues right before proceeding further, and we will be considering this further over the coming weeks. It is likely that I will recommend that the future of women’s football receive its own dedicated review.”

I absolutely welcome the idea of a review dedicated to women’s football and am hopeful and confident that this will happen sooner rather than later.