Leeds CEO compares transfer levy, regulator calls to Maoism

2 minute read

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Leicester City - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - November 7, 2021 Leeds United corner flag is seen with poppies as part of remembrance commemorations before the match. REUTERS/Craig Brough

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Dec 1 (Reuters) - Leeds United CEO Angus Kinnear has compared calls for a transfer levy and an independent regulator to Maoism and the Great Chinese Famine, adding that the recommendations would not make English football any fairer.

A transfer levy on top-flight clubs and appointment of an independent regulator for the English game were among 47 recommendations made by a fan-led review of football governance published last week.

Writing in his programme notes before Leeds' 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday, Kinnear said he supported the other recommendations but the two were "as flawed as they are radical".

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"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," he said.

Millions died of starvation during the 1958-61 Great Leap Forward, a failed attempt at rapid industrialisation.

Kinnear added that the proposed redistribution of funds might end up rewarding poor governance in lower league football.

"Teams further down the pyramid do not need their means artificially inflated, they need to live within them," he said.

"Clubs who excel in recruitment, player development or commercial enterprise will be punished, while less capable ownership will be rewarded for incompetence."

Lawmaker Tracey Crouch, who led the review, said Kinnear's comparison was a "tad extreme".

"My report merely wishes to see more money going to grassroots, ensure that football clubs don't go bust, put diversity on the agenda and give fans a say on key issues," Crouch told the BBC.

"Maoism killed millions and millions of people."

Kinnear's comments were also criticised by the Football Supporters' Association.

"Been a lot of dross from Premier League club executives over the last couple of days trying their best to undermine the fan-led review but Kinnear has somehow lowered the bar even further," it said on Twitter.

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Reporting by Aadi Nair and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Ed Osmond

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