One year on from the Fan-led Review of Football Governance a new report by its chair Tracey Crouch highlights just how football would benefit from its recommendations.
The Fan Led Review: One Year On calls for urgent implementation of recommendations that put fans at the heart of the game and protect football’s historic clubs.
What did the Fan Led Review propose?
- Governance: an independent regulator for football (IREF) which has the necessary investigative and enforcement powers is needed to prevent the recurrence of such developments as the European Super League.
- Finance: football’s model is unsustainable with too many clubs making losses. Pre-emptive action is needed and a regulator will impose stronger financial controls.
- Engagement: proposals to embed democratic supporter organisations and engagement within the heart of domestic football.
- Heritage: football stadiums, club badges, location, colours and competitions all deserve special protections. Fans to have a veto on these assets at every club via a “golden share” which is held by a democratic, legally-constituted fan group. These protections confer many benefits of ownership without supporter groups being required to raise capital.
- Reform: half of the FA Board should be made up of independent non-executive directors, to reduce elite club influence. The FLR also recommends reform of the FA Council.
- Distribution: the removal of restrictions on FA spending meaning more money redirected towards grassroots, non-league and women’s football.
The review was launched by Government following the failed European Super League plot, and back in June 2021 TrustSTFC were given a private hearing in which we presented to the panel a detailed summary of our historical ownership issues, along with a series of our own recommendations for improvements.
The Fan Led Review then delivered its original findings in November 2021. While progress continues – a Government White Paper is expected soon and sports minister Stuart Andrew said the case for reform was “not in doubt” – supporters are concerned that the top clubs are continuing to block real change.
The review’s major recommendation (and one that we had also proposed) was that an independent regulator for football should be established, and it has still not happened. Further proposals would give supporters a bigger voice at all clubs and protect football stadiums, club badges, location, colours and competitions via a “golden share” held by democratic supporters’ groups.
TrustSTFC Chairman Steve Mytton commented:
“The introduction of the Advisory Board last year, along with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Trust and Swindon Town means that we are way ahead in terms of transparency between the club and its supporters.
However, whilst we’re lucky to have that relationship at the moment, we still need a framework that ensures this continues for generations to come. If implemented, the Fan Led review recommendations will help supporters have a stronger voice, help football clubs become more financially stable and generally have a great impact on the sport as a whole – right down to grassroots level.
It’s for that reason we will be engaging with our local MP for support on the review in the hope that the full set of recommendations are implemented.”
Justin Tomlinson MP also responded to the latest news:
“The Trust did you all proud with their pro-active engagement in the Fan Led Review. The collective experiences of the seemingly endless threats of administration and questionable owners at the County Ground has played a significant part in shaping the final recommendations of the Fan Led Review by my good friend, the fantastic Tracey Crouch MP.
Since the Fan Led Review was launched I have had numerous meetings with Swindon Town CEO Rob Angus, the Premier League, the EFL, the PFA, Kieran Maguire (Price of Football) and the various Ministers. I will be very active on this as the White Paper passes through the different stages in Parliament, though I hope this will be an area with genuine cross-party consensus – which is as rare as an Oxford Utd shirt being deemed acceptable attire in a social setting!
We are expecting a White Paper to be brought forward in the New Year which will set out the new laws and regulations to underpin the regulations. I will remain active on this, especially as not all MP’s are football mad (shame on them) and we have to be careful as the White Paper progresses that it doesn’t deviate from the core recommendations.
The focus rightly should be on protecting clubs assets and heritage for fans, greater fan engagement, transparency and an Independent Financial Regulator.
Football matters, so thank you Trust STFC for all your work with the Fan Led Review.”