The majority of Brits believe the new independent football regulator should have the power to fine clubs if their fans take part in offensive chants inside the stadium, new polling has shown.

The figures also reveal a strong tendency among football fans for clubs to take on more progressive aims, such as cutting down on their greenhouse gas emissions, more diversity training for players and staff and equal pay for the men’s and women’s games.

Earlier this year, ministers published a white paper on football governance that will pave the way for a new independent regulator for the sport, giving it the power to test the fitness of new club owners and ensure clubs are run sustainably.

But already, the public believes the new watchdog should be given even greater powers to ensure greater equality and to stamp out the more hostile elements of the game.

Pollsters have said the figures suggest the stereotype of football fans as being more socially conservative is outdated, with respondents supportive of more liberal goals for the regulator.

According to the poll, undertaken by Public First and shared with i, 54 per cent of people backed the idea of the new regulator hitting clubs with fines for offensive chanting during matches, while 57 per cent supported giving the body the means to set standards to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Respondents were also more likely to back the idea of equal pay between men’s football and women’s, with 45 per cent supportive of the proposal, compared with just 18 per cent who opposed it.

A slight majority – 51 per cent – said they would back a regulator forcing all players, management and staff to attend courses on diversity, equality and inclusion as opposed to just 18 per cent, who were against the idea.

Edward Shackle, senior policy and campaigns manager at Public First, said that while such regulatory powers were unlikely in the near term, the football watchdog’s remit could be beefed up under a change of government.

“Despite football fans often having a reputation for being ‘right wing’, our findings suggest this perception may be outdated and does not reflect the majority of fans,” Mr Shackle said.

And he added: “While these measures may sound unlikely now, the prospect of a left-leaning government at the next election combined with a powerful new regulator hungry to establish itself may just lead to football changing more radically than was ever previously imagined.”

The poll questioned more than 1,000 adults, half of whom described themselves as football fans.

Introducing a new football regulator was one of several recommendations adopted from the fan-led review into the game, which would also block clubs from forming breakaway leagues, while also giving fans much greater say to protect the heritage of their clubs.

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