The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it will be “carefully considering” the proposals by elite football clubs to create a breakaway European Super League.
The regulator’s move emerged after Labour pressed for an investigation over whether the plans would breach laws to uphold fairness, arguing it is “nothing short of an attempt to stitch up competition”.
A CMA spokeswoman said: “The proposals for a European football super league have attracted high levels of public interest. It is a complex area and we will be carefully considering any competition concerns relating to these proposals.”
Labour’s shadow minister for sport, Alison McGovern, had written to the CMA asking whether it will investigate the widely criticised plans.
She also called for the regulator to commission a study to identify how the league would impact upon competition in the market and to advise Parliament on drafting legislation to make the sport more accountable to supporters.
The party has also urged football fans to sign a petition pressuring the regulator into action over the move backed by the “Big Six” of English Premier League clubs.
In a statement, Ms McGovern added: “Proposals for a breakaway league are nothing short of an attempt to stitch up competition for a few elite clubs at the top.
“We urge supporters across the country to add their names to this letter and show the groundswell of feeling against these damaging proposals, that would do immense damage to football and communities across the country.
“This must now be a watershed moment. We cannot simply go back to the status quo in which smaller clubs struggle to stay afloat and fans are excluded from decisions.”
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested the party could back legislation to prevent the super league, and said the ownership of clubs needed to be looked at.
“I think it might have to be (prising control), or at least limiting the extent of the ownership stake, and also dealing with the speculation element of it,” he told the Independent.
“Foreign speculation almost brought down Wigan Athletic, a great club, a historic club, very important to Wigan itself, and so we’ve got to tackle the ownership question.”