Local MPs and parliamentary candidates have welcomed Labour’s announcement today (FRIDAY) on plans to give football fans a voice in every boardroom and buy a significant slice of the shares when the ownership of their club changes.
Clive Efford, Labour’s Shadow’s Sports Minister, will launch the proposals for the biggest legislative shake-up in the governance of English and Welsh football clubs since the advent of the game.
The plan, which has been drawn up in consultation with 95 football supporters’ organisations, including fans groups in Newcastle, would require supporters to come together to form a single accredited trust in return for the right to:
appoint and remove up to a quarter and not less than two of a football club’s board of directors;purchase up to 10 per cent of the shares when a club changes ownership, if they so wish.
Supporters have told us that this is the only way to ensure those running clubs share information, power and responsibility with them. Labour's proposals mean fans could hold the owners of their club to account on all issues on and off the field including ticket prices, shirt sponsorship, ground naming rights, and changing the colour of the strip or the name.
Labour will now consult further on the detail of these proposals with supporters.
Clive Efford MP said:
“Too often fans are treated like an after-thought as ticket prices are hiked-up, grounds re-located and clubs burdened with debt or the threat of bankruptcy. Only this week, the BBC’s Price of football survey showed how average prices have risen at almost twice the rate of the cost of living since 2011. We have reached a tipping point in the way football is run.
“The Labour party has listened to the views of fans about changing the way football is run in England and Wales. And we want to ensure they are heard by the owners of the clubs too. We will now consult further on proposals to enshrine on the statute books the idea that football have a special place in people’s hearts – and should be the heart of our communities.”
Welcoming the plans, Newcastle Central MP, Chi Onwurah, who is an honorary board member of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust said:
“This is great news for football fans. One of the major frustrations for Newcastle fans is the sense of being shut out from the Club, powerless to influence decisions and met largely by a wall of silence. Under Labour’s proposals, should the club’s ownership change hands, fans would have a real say, and that should encourage the club to show fans more respect now. We've got to give power back to the fans if we're going to reclaim the beautiful game.”
Anna Turley, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Redcar said:
"So many real fans now feel the game they love is leaving them behind. It’s right that we give supporters the chance to have an influence over local their club. These proposals would mean that if the ownership of the Boro changes in the future then fans could take a stake in the club and have their voices heard.”
Jon Cruddas, head of Labour’s Policy Review, said:
‘The Premier League is a huge success. But football is more than a business. Football clubs are part of people’s identity and sense of belonging. Our plan is to give fans a stake in their clubs. Labour believes in sharing power and responsibility with people, and giving football fans a voice is part of our plan to change our country by devolving power to our cities, towns and communities. We believe in a society that gives power to people.”