At TrustSTFC we are working closely with the club on financial sustainability and also fan engagement initiatives.
Recently STFC joined the Fair Game initiative with TrustSTFC (Led by Board member and Vice Chair James Spencer), in order to actively contribute and help shape the work that Fair Game undertake with the other 33 clubs who are part of this group (Luton, Bristol Rovers, Leyton Orient etc). In being part of Fair Game we as a club can help direct football policy and working with the Fair game team of experts to develop the realistic long-term solutions football needs.
Fair Game’s key beliefs are ones of :
- financial sustainability
- community engagement in football.
One of the key initiatives and objectives for Fair Game is around financial sustainability in football and pushing Government and the football bodies to look to introduce a new independent regulator for football to help support clubs in therfore not going out of business.
On 7th November we got the wonderful news with the Government announcement that there would be a new Independent Regulator in football (IREF) established as part of the Kings Speech and this was hailed as “A historic moment for football” by Fair Game.
This announcement is a key milestone and huge step forward that we all hope can support potentially ending the vicious cycle that we regularly see in terms of the survival of football clubs under threat daily.
The CEO of Fair Game Niall Couper commented on this:
“Today’s announcement is a historic moment for football and represents a real chance to end the cycle of overspending and mismanagement that has plagued our National Game and threatened the very existence of our clubs. Right now clubs like Sheffield Wednesday, Reading and Scunthorpe United are staring into the abyss. “Reckless spending, disconnect between clubs and their communities, and lip service to equality standards must be consigned to the rubbish bin of history. This transformation can only be achieved if the regulator has the teeth and resources to deliver.”
So In effect what does this all mean now?
This bill and new regulator being established therfore focusses on improvements in football governance in the following key areas:
- New Independent Regulator with appropriate powers – A new independent regulator is crucial to addressing the well-documented financial challenges within football.
- New more stringent and fit for purpose Owners and Directors Test – The existing tests focusses on just a single snapshot of real time finances and affordability to run a football club, however the new tests will extend that and also include in particular, issues of ethics and criminality. These include concerns around state ownership and human rights.
- Club Heritage Protection initiatives introduction of policy to ensure club heritiages are protected for the future, and will be overseen and reside with the FA
- New Government Code for Football – Rules and regulations that support best practise management and running of football clubs in an effective and sustainable way.
- Addressing the “Wimbledon Clause” – Whereas previously clubs were only required to have consultation with fans in the event of a stadium sale or relocation which would have made it easier for a club to relocate and repeat the decision that permitted Wimbledon FC to relocate to a town 60 miles away. The rules around this now have been extended and strengthened to support giving fans more of a say and input into this sort of scenario.
- Saying No to a European super league – essentially the rich clubs just getting richer.
- Fairer distribution and flow of money in football – More money should be distributed with clubs lower down the pyramid rather than all the wealth simply existing at the premier league and championship level. Also, well-run clubs would also be rewarded more through this approach.
FairGame Launch Crowd Funder to Help Support Clubs in Trouble
Fair Game have launched a Crowd funder initiative to help raise funds to support clubs that get into financial trouble – you can view the details of this and donate if you wish using the following link. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/fairgame
How will STFC and TrustSTFC be working with Fair Game going forward?
- We will be active members in initiatives and localised working groups in order to share ideas, good practices on all elements of what Fair Game stands for in order to ensure football clubs are run well and sustainable and that we effectively engage with our fans.
- We will look to harness expert football knowledge and subject matter experts that are part of and work with Fair Game in order to bring these ideas and concepts back to the club to help improve how Swindon Town is run and how we engage with our fanbase
- Raise issues and concerns we have at STFC with the wider group of clubs and Fair Game in order to get positive change to support improving how football is run in the UK.
We will look to provide regular updates in our Trust regular member communications in what we are undertaking and working on in order to improve football in the UK as well as at our club.