Gary Neville believes that an independent football regulator will be put into football in the coming years, amid the controversy caused by Chelsea’s ongoing takeover situation and Newcastle’s Saudi-led ownership. Neville’s words come in the wake of the UK government’s decision to sanction Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, which has left the club’s future uncertain as they look to find new ownership whilst suffering from several restrictions.
Saudi Media Group have been linked with a bid to takeover the club amid known interest, while the likes of Nick Candy and Hansjorg Wyss are both leading consortiums in the hope of securing a deal.
Speaking on Monday Night Football ahead of Crystal Palace vs Manchester City, Neville said that the Premier League haven’t been proactive about responding to what he thinks is becoming a big issue in football: “You’ve got Chinese money sat over here, you’ve got Russian money sat over here, you’ve got Abu Dhabi money sat over here, who were abstaining at the UN during that period. You’ve obviously got the Saudi money at Newcastle.
“And they’ll [the Premier League] be sat there, very nervously thinking ‘if we don’t set a precedent here, what do we do?’ And the Premier League only reacted after the Government sanctioned Chelsea in removing Roman Abramovich as a #director. They weren’t pro-active, which is not leadership, because they don’t know what to do on this subject.”
“Football’s got a big problem because I don’t think it’ll be accepted anymore,” Neville added. “I think there’ll be an independent regulator put into football, I think it was coming anyway.
“But Super League, Saudi money, Russian money, Bury, Derby, lack of sustainability, lack of real-time financial monitoring, lack of fit and proper persons test, football is absolutely coming under huge scrutiny. And it’s not just a football problem.”
Whatever happens, it’s fair to say that the future of football is uncertain as things stand. Hopefully, solutions benefit the welfare of all involved in the game and the fans who love the sport.