A law to protect football clubs from "falling into the wrong hands" has been introduced by the government – five years after the collapse of Bury FC.

The Football Governance Bill, introduced to Parliament today, Tuesday, will see an independent football regulator (IFR) enshrined into law to give fans "a greater voice" in the running of their clubs.

The bill, which will also see the introduction of strengthened owners’ and directors’ tests, and a breakaway from closed-shop competitions like the European Super League, comes after a series of high-profile cases of financial mismanagement at clubs such as Bury FC and Macclesfield.

The Shakers were expelled from the English Football League in 2019 after financial issues under previous owner Steve Dale.

The club was reinstated into the North West Counties League following a successful merger vote last year.

The IFR will have "robust" powers to improve financial sustainability of clubs, ensure financial resilience across the leagues, and to safeguard the heritage of English football.

Clubs which do not comply with the bill could see financial penalties up of up to 10 per cent of their turnover, and owners and directors who fail to run clubs well can be removed and banned from similar positions in the future.

The new bill follows a number of issues in recent years, including financial mismanagement, breakaway plans for the European Super League, and changes to club names, badges and colours against the wishes of fans.

READ MORE: Bury mum who had heart surgery backing husband’s marathon fundraiser

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who visited Gigg Lane in April 2022 before being elected as the Conservatives' leader, said: “Football has long been one of our greatest sources of national pride.

“Up and down the country, it brings people together in celebration or commiseration.

“But for too long some clubs have been abused by unscrupulous owners who get away with financial mismanagement, which at worst can lead to complete collapse – as we saw in the upsetting cases of Bury and Macclesfield Town.

“This bill is a historic moment for football fans – it will make sure their voices are front and centre, prevent a breakaway league, protect the financial.”

READ MORE: Thousands of Bury street lights to be turned into LED lights

The new legislation comes following a fan-led review into football governance conducted by former sports minister Tracey Crouch.

And plans for the IFR were announced by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a visit to Gigg Lane in April 2022.

The government says fan engagement is a central tenet of the Football Governance Bill and will ensure fans are put back at the heart of the game.

As part of the licence, clubs will be required to consult their fans on key off-field decisions, such as club heritage and the club’s strategic direction.