Supporters Direct welcomes the announcement of the Labour Party’s plans for a shake-up of football governance, centred on Supporters Direct’s objective of ensuring fans have a real role in the ownership and running of their clubs.
The most important element of this proposal is the right for Fit and Proper supporters’ trusts to appoint and remove up to a quarter of a football club’s board of directors; this signals the establishment of the formal relationship between supporters’ trusts and their clubs, which we have sought for many years.
No-one in football denies the special social and community nature of football clubs, yet there has always been a resistance to measures across the board that would actually increase the role of those fans in their clubs.
The importance of having a seat at the table where decisions are made has been the central plank of our movement and this organisation since the seeds were sown by our founder, Brian Lomax, at his own Northampton Town in 1992.
We have seen the success of clubs where ownership has been shared willingly and openly with supporters’ trusts. Indeed even the most sceptical of those in football have expressed admiration for this model, not least at Premier League Swansea City.
We also welcome an introduction of a ‘Right to Buy’ of 10% of shares on offer during a change of ownership.
We expect to be a part of the continued discussions around this issue with Clive Efford and his team. We also hope that this serves as message to football itself that the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s findings that demanded a greater role for supporters, real and tangible transparency and more openness in the way our national game is run, are not destined to gather dust on a shelf, like the previous five reports since 1967 on football governance.
We would like to thank Clive Efford and his team for listening and acting on the serious concerns, and for the equally serious proposals made during his consultation process. His willingness to listen, learn – but also argue his point – with fans deserves great credit in a time when politicians are often accused of cynicism.
To read more about the Labour Party’s proposals, click here