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Gary Neville slams Leeds CEO Angus Kinnear’s views on fan-led review

Gary Neville slams Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear’s views on the fan-led review of football governance which was in the matchday programme.

Writing in his notes for Tuesday night’s game against Crystal Palace at Elland Road, Kinnear said there was ‘much to applaud’ in the review of the game’s governance and welcomed suggestions surrounding increased supporter consultation and improved diversity.

However, he took issue with the call for independent regulation and an increased transfer levy to push further funds to the rest of football’s pyramid, labelling them as ‘flawed as they are radical.’

“Forgetting that independent regulation has not proven to be a panacea for any industry (take Ofwat presiding over three billion litres of leaked water every year and thousands of hours of illegal raw sewage disposal in our nation’s waterways as a case in point), it is hard to see the value an independent regulator would have added to the perceived issues,” wrote Kinnear.

“We should remember that the European Super League was so repugnant in its conception and so seditious in its execution that the game and its supporters regulated it out of existence without the need for a third party.

“When it comes to the takeover of Newcastle it is inconceivable that a retired civil servant in the pocket of Westminster would have made the call that, while it is morally acceptable to trade billions of pounds worth of arms to an oppressive regime, it is morally unacceptable for them to own 11 teenage millionaires who kick around an inflated pig’s bladder.”

The Leeds CEO’s view on a suggestion to increase the money being redistributed to clubs below the top tier of English football is that it will come at a cost to competition.

“On the recommendations around financial redistribution, it seems to have been conveniently forgotten that the Premier League distributed £1.5b to the wider football pyramid in the last three years, with a further commitment for another £1.6b in the next three,” he wrote.

“I don’t believe there is any industry where its biggest entities donate at anywhere near that level to both their aspiring competitors and their community. There is already a four per cent levy on transfer fees which is distributed between a player pension fund and Academy investment. Football is a private sector business and has flourished that way. Enforcing upon football a philosophy akin to Maoist collective agriculturalism (which students of “The Great Leap Forward” will know culminated in the greatest famine in history) will not make the English game fairer, it will kill the competition which is its very lifeblood.

“Teams further down the pyramid do not need their means artificially inflated, they need to live within them. As a recently promoted team we were asked by the review what we would have done with increased funds if Premier League teams had been forced to financially contribute to our promotion campaign and the answer (although more eloquently expressed) was, fundamentally, that we would have still blown it on Pawel Cibicki.”

Sky Sports pundit Neville saw what Kinnear had to say, and said via Twitter: “Anyone remember when Leeds United were in the Championship sweating like crazy over their own financial state if they didn’t go up. How has it come to this within 12 months? A sorry state of affairs . Surely even Leeds fans don’t like these programme notes on the Fan Led Review.”

Kinnear isn’t the only Premier League CEO to go against those particular recommendations in the review. Aston Villa’s Christian Purslow isn’t happen at calls for top flight clubs to hand more money to the football pyramid and warned that over-regulation of the game could ‘kill the golden goose.’

Vice-chairman of West Ham, Karren Brady, defends the parachute payment system by saying clubs would go bankrupt without the money and added when writing in the Sun that Tracey Crouch had “fallen into a do-gooder trap” by proposing reform. “Maybe Tracey and [EFL chair Rick] Parry confuse competition with fairness,” she went on.

Crystal Palace’s chairman, Steve Parrish, speaking against the Crouch review.

Parrish also warned against the implementation of an independent regulator for football, the key recommendation of the Crouch review.

Debating the point with Gary Neville on Twitter, Parrish said: “Regulators are there so that governments can control markets or companies within a framework they set and can alter. Regulators are instruments of government and they are independant [sic] only up to enforcing the current remit which can be changed at any time by a new act of parliament. So Football will be – under this plan controlled by government.”

Twitter users gave their reaction as Gary Neville slams Leeds CEO Angus Kinnear’s views on the fan-led review…

@flyhsuk: Maybe start by focusing on the football before you allow the club to attempt to become a huge commercial enterprise without the security of a PL spot that underpins it. Socios Tokens, Free shirts to every B list celeb etc all are unwarranted distractions

@swalesey_LUFC: It’s not championship clubs that need the cash, it’s all the level 5 and lower clubs that can’t raise TV money or get massive sponsorship deals. The ones that coach a million kids on sometimes poor pitches and with poor equipment.

@NazLUFC: @LUFC this is disgusting by Kinnear.

@cammish_david: Entertaining as ever, but his assertion that football wouldn’t benefit from stricter regulation and the belief that the mega rich premier League should be allowed to consolidate their advantages and be allowed to distort competitive advantage forever do him (and LUFC) no credit.

@MarcBaulk: Wasn’t a fan of the statement myself, but you’re barely talking from a neutral position, are you? You’ve a clear conflict of interest here being the owner of an EFL club. Equally, sweating over the financial state? There was a clear plan with assets in place to balance the books

@AshJohnson20: Kinnear is usually on the money with a lot of things (spoke well about Super League etc), but he was way off on this one. Really disappointing.

@mattolufc: Bad judgement to release this. The Great Leap Forward comment is crass.

@pitman_lucy: Frankly embarrassed by this. And disappointed

@arnie_booth: It is absolute twaddle. The great famine comparison made me cringe in horror. My wife is chinese and her parents lived through that and the stories I have heard are heart breaking.

@tonyhannan: I agree with Angus you can’t control private businesses and to have an independent committee ruling just doesn’t do it for me, we don’t want politicians or politics in our game

@JWood180: Tbf Gary nobody cared about us when we nearly went bust, twice. A number of clubs voted in favour of huge punishments. We had to sell our best assets for pittance just to stay afloat, I wouldn’t want our clubs money going to clubs like Derby after all their fiddling.

@HarveyHolmes156: Don’t want to say ‘fuck you, got mine’ but no one was clambering to help Leeds out of the shit when we were down there on the verge of extinction, I can see why Leeds have no interest in them now being asked to do for others what was never done for them

@Downs_are_back: Bit different when the difficulties Leeds faced were mainly due to irresponsible spaffing during your Champions League jollies. Attracts less sympathy than the issue of clubs who just need to survive in a system that is working against them.

@GoneBerardi: This don’t sit right with me at all. Very poor take from the club here.

@ThatMcRider: Like so many others, this is not how I want my club run. I want to support a team that believes a rising tide lifts all ships, not “fuck em, they should have had better owners”. Also – the comparison to the great leap forward is offensive, and not even historically accurate.

@The_Ron_Manager: I bet there would have been a different line if Leeds weren’t already in the Premier League. Self-interest always rules at the cost of what is right in football. Without the league pyramid, there would not be football as people know it in this country. #greed

@sav1lle: Really disagree with most of this and don’t see why he’s written it. We spent years scraping around below the prem before Radz put in millions. Plus if we hadn’t gone up, we’d have made massive cuts. The prem shouldn’t be the merry go round of promo and relegation it currently is

@LondonLUFC: Please take this down. It’s so far off the mark it’s ridiculous. Famine and Death ≠ football at all. Not even close.

@Woolytweets: Kinnear has generally been a v good CEO for us, but his programme notes have been getting progressively more gung ho and rabble rousing rather than measured. Hopefully this ludicrously OTT set of notes will prompt him to rethink and measure his words more.

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