You may be aware of the work SD has been doing to strengthen key regulatory areas and to push for a suitable level of independence in the way that football is regulated In particular, to focus on club licensing with an aim at reducing the number of crisis clubs at all levels of the pyramid. In simple terms we would like to see more protection of our clubs, their heritage and facilities.
Blackpool are one such club who have suffered under poor ownership and their fans have witnessed first-hand how the league and F.A. appear unable to act under their current rules and regulations. The Blackpool Supporters Trust have in recent years done fantastic work to highlight these problems as well as fighting for a change of ownership. Frustration has led them to create a petition to encourage Government to create an independent regulator, thus ensuring that clubs can no longer be mistreated, and supporters have somewhere to turn when all else fails.
A club licensing model is something that SD fully supports and we believe that all football fans should agree passionately with. We encourage you to share the below with your members, and possibly further afield requesting that they support the campaign for football reform.
BST NATIONAL PETITION – Football Reform
This is an important request to you as a Supporters’ Trust and to all of your members as individuals to sign a parliamentary petition that has been raised on behalf of football clubs in crisis. Our goal is 100,000 signatures and the clock is ticking…
It is not just Blackpool, every season, fans of one club or another voice serious concerns about the running of their club – Blackburn, Portsmouth, Charlton, Coventry, Leyton Orient, are the most high-profile in recent years but there are current issues at Bolton, Dulwich, Hartlepool, Hull and Nottingham Forest and countless others across the football pyramid. Even clubs currently in the top flight such as Liverpool and Manchester United have had issues with their owners, which ought to remind us all that our own clubs are only one bad business deal away from the same uncertainty.
Whenever there are patently unethical goings-on behind the scenes at football clubs it is the clubs and the fans who suffer and the constant frustration is that the EFL and the FA are either reluctant or unable to step in.
Concerned Blackpool supporters recently met with the EFL and were told that the EFL is comfortable with its current role and responsibility (as a competition organiser) and it is for others to determine if it is fit-for-purpose. The clear implication is that it has no appetite for addressing off-field issues of responsible ownership.
That being so, we the fans must be those ‘others’ making the case that the EFL and FA are not interested when it comes to governance issues associated to the ownership & stewardship of clubs
Football clubs are too precious, and too much a part of the fabric of our national life, to be left to the mercy of unregulated and often unscrupulous ownership. They need the protection of a robust regulatory framework that offers a range of sanctions against wrongdoers, mechanisms that allow problems to be confronted before they become deep-rooted and a governing body that has the desire to enforce ethical behaviour.
It may surprise you to know that England is one of only 5 countries in UEFA that does not have an external and independent licensing body for its leagues (Gibraltar and Montenegro are two of the others!)
We have therefore created a parliamentary petition:
“We urge the Government to introduce an independent regulator for English football, charged with ensuring the highest possible standards of governance for all clubs.”
because we believe that the only way significant reform is going to be brought about is via the statute book. The Government must step in to lead the process of fundamental reform that is clearly needed. As stated above, we require 100,000 signatures to trigger a parliamentary debate to kick-start that process.
What we are asking you to do is to share this important message and the link below with your membership – preferably by emailing them all individually if you have that capability, as well as posting the petition on your Trust website, Facebook page et cetera. The football authorities rely on the apathy of supporters to maintain the status quo – a situation that has gone on for far too many years. It is time to make a change, as a united fan base in this country, for the long-term good of the game.
Please sign and share the petition as widely as possible during the coming month.