They Think It’s All Over? What will happen to the historic Football Governance Bill now that a General Election has been called?

News  |   23 May 2024

Written by
Lewis Glasson, Partner

On 22 May 2024 incumbent Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the UK will go to the polls on 4 July 2024 in a General Election.

Mr Sunak has been granted permission by the King to dissolve Parliament which is said to take effect from 30 May 2024.

Any bills that are still proceeding through Parliament (such as the much-anticipated Football Governance Bill) will enter what is known as the “Wash-up” period. Any unfinished business at the end of the wash-up period at the dissolution of Parliament is lost, unless it can be pushed through at speed in the coming few days.

The Football Governance Bill is currently at Committee stage before it returns to the floor of the House of Commons for its Report stage. If the Bill is to get through Parliament before 30 May, it will require a concerted cross-party effort to meet the 30 May deadline. The good news is that the Football Governance Bill does seem to have cross-party support in the main, however it will be competing for attention with all of the other bills that are currently working their way through Parliament, such as the Renters (Reform) Bill and the Leasehold and Freehold Bill.

In the hours after Mr Sunak’s announcement, it is still not clear yet what will happen to the Football Governance Bill. Stakeholders will hope that all of the hard work to date is not lost and that the Bill can be pushed through during the wash-up period. If the Bill cannot be passed in time for the dissolution of Parliament, it will be a decision for the new Parliament whether or not to re-introduce the Bill.

For now, English football must watch this space.

Update at 12.45pm on 23 May 2024:

It has been confirmed that the Football Governance Bill did not make the cut for wash-up pre-General Election.

The Bill will proceed no further through Parliament before Parliament dissolves on 30 May.

It remains to be seen whether the ready-made Bill will be re-introduced in the same form by the next Government, or if there will be attempts to re-draft it. The Labour Party (widely expected to form the next Government) has previously committed to introduce a Regulator if they are elected and this Government had not.

Negotiations between the Premier League and EFL on a deal had reached an impasse in the weeks before the Bill reached Committee stage. It will be interesting to see whether the unexpected pause of the Bill will encourage stakeholders to come back to the negotiating table.