Following the recent Red Knights moves at Man Utd, Liverpool fans wanting to buy the Club, as well as the Portsmouth administration issues, football fan ownership has been in the spotlight. This has been further added to by the announcement by Labour to transfer 25% ownership to supporters via Supporters’ Trusts. This has been welcomed by UEFA President Platini.
As David Conn adds in his article, good news but a little too late after all the good work in the early years of the Football Task Force and setting up Supporters Direct.
SD reacts to political football
The following News Release has been received today from Supporters Direct, following Labour’s manifesto pledge on fan ownership in football clubs.
Reports in The Guardian today (more detail from Owen Gibson and commentary from David Conn) suggests that the Government are looking at radical proposals to give fans a right-to-buy their clubs and enabling them to take a 25% stake in the club. They also say that the government wants to see the powers of the football authorities beefed up to give them more power to veto takeovers of clubs which are not in the club’s interests nor that of the supporters nor the wider game.
Meanwhile The Guardian and Daily Mail both quote Conservative Shadow Sports Minister Hugh Robertson saying that there are other ways in which supporters can be guaranteed representation without needing ownership stakes, whilst Don Foster for the Liberal Democrats dismisses the idea of supporter-ownership as a ‘pipedream’ (I wonder if he’s bothered to note the Co-operatives UK/You Gov opinion poll saying exactly the opposite) – but does agree with us that ownership is not a panacea, making the point that football “urgently need(s) a radical overhaul of the FA to better represent supporters and act in the interests of the game.”
Supporters Direct Chief Executive Dave Boyle said:
“The two parties – one of which will form the basis of the next government – both agree fans should have a stake in the clubs they support and are pledged to work to make it happen. That’s great news for the trust movement and long-overdue recognition that clubs aren’t businesses like any other.
“We look forward to the next government – whoever it is – putting fans at the heart of the game and we will work with them to make it happen”
Now football’s genuinely on the political agenda, maybe you would consider writing or emailing your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPC’s) standing in your constituency, to see if they agree with either Labour, the Conservative or the Liberal Democrats – or if you’re in Wales, Plaid Cymru – and their policies on football.
We’ve included the links to their candidates below:
And Michel Platini, UEFA’s President, has now weighed in supporting the proposals, ‘saying that supporters were the only people who had a genuine “identity” with clubs.’ (Link above)
North of the Border, the Rangers Supporters Trust are reportedly discussing the possibility of a buyout of the debt ridden Scottish club in partnership with other, wealthy fans. Interesting days indeed.