While most attention was focused on Qatar, came confirmation the government intends to go ahead with the creation of an independent regulator to oversee the biggest issues in the game.
This is bad news for the Premier League, which has continually lobbied against the notion of a regulator and only a few months ago appeared to have won the battle with new Prime Minister Liz Truss ready to ditch an idea first recommended in the independent review into football launched by her predecessor, Boris Johnson.
Unluckily for the Premier League – but luckily for everyone who for years have argued the sport needed reform – Truss went from new to former PM quicker than it takes Watford to change managers and her successor, Rishi Sunak, sees things differently. A white paper is due to be launched in the new year.
Perhaps the first thing to understand about a regulator is that it will not be a miracle cure for all of the game’s ills. The office would not, for instance, prevent the takeover of clubs on human rights grounds.
But it would likely take a stronger approach to what many see as the state sponsorship of some clubs (Manchester City, we are looking at you), while more importantly overseeing a long-needed strengthening of the owners’ and directors’ test, for years now proven unfit for purpose.
A regulator also makes it far more likely the wealth which for so long has remained rooted at the top of the game will be shared more evenly. The Premier League, currently in negotiations with the EFL over its New Deal for Football, now has little option but to make a fair offer lest the regulator intervene.
For supporters, meanwhile, there is the real prospect of having a greater say on shadow fan boards – recommended in the review – with whom clubs would be required to consult over major decisions. Another proposal was for fans to have a golden share allowing them to veto things like stadium sales, relocation or joining new competitions like a European Super League. Truly, revolutionary stuff.