23rd Sep, 2021

Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana calls for Government to push for fan ownership of English football clubs

COVENTRY South MP Zarah Sultana is leading a cross-party group of MPs which is pushing for fan ownership of clubs in English football.

Ms Sultana has put forward an amendment to the Queen’s Speech, calling on the Government to bring forward a ‘People’s Football Bill’ to implement a fan ownership system, modelled on the German Football League’s highly successful ’50+1 Rule’.

It is supported by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party MPs, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

As well as being credited with top German clubs’ refusal to take part in the European Super League (ESL), it has also led to lower ticket prices in German football.

The most expensive season ticket in the German Football League’s Bundesliga is more than £100 cheaper than the cheapest season ticket in the Premier League.

Protests from fans have continued against the owner of the so-called ‘Big Six’ English clubs, even after all of the teams pulled out of talks over a proposed ESL.

The proposed Queen’s Speech amendment follows a petition to Parliament from football fans across England containing more than 100,000 signatures and it will now be considered for a House of Commons debate.

The amendment has the backing of the grassroots group We Own It, which campaigns to extend public ownership.

Ms Sultana has previously spoken in favour of fan ownership in Parliament, highlighting the Sky Blues needing to travel outside Coventry for their home matches this season and last.

Following the ESL debacle, the Culture Secretary confirmed the Government would ‘look at the 50+1 Rule’ and has brought forward a long-delayed review of football governance.

But Ms Sultana is concerned the Government is ‘kicking the problem into the long-grass’.

The Labour member said: “The European Super League debacle showed that our football clubs shouldn’t be the plaything of billionaires. But it’s only a matter of time before they again put their greed before our communities.

“Instead of kicking the problem into the long-grass, waiting for fans’ anger to die down, we should address this problem at its root – taking ownership from the out-of-touch elite and giving it to the people who really care about their clubs – the fans.

“The case for fans to have a greater say is particularly clear in Coventry, with Sky Blues supporters repeatedly forced to travel outside of the city to watch their team – in spite of universal opposition from the fans.”

She added the fan ownership model worked in Germany, ensuring clubs were not part of the breakaway ESL plans and keeping ticket prices low to ensure they were not out of the reach of working class supporters.

“That’s why the government should embrace this moment with a People’s Football Bill to hand ownership to the fans.”

Johnbosco Nwogbo, campaigns officer at We Own It – a group campaigning for public ownership of public service – said: “The last few weeks has shown that the public are sick and tired of the mega-rich running football clubs exclusively in the interests of profit.

“People can see that multinational companies are swooping in, taking over and exploiting the most important things in this country – from our NHS GP practices to our treasured football clubs.

“Our economy’s ownership structures are rigged in favour of the wealthy and against the public.

We need our public services to be in public hands. And in the rest of the economy, we need far more community ownership too.

“That’s why we’re supporting Zarah Sultana’s call for a People’s Football Bill to put fans back at the heart of the beautiful game.”

We Own It have created a tool for people to call on their MPs to back the amendment and fans can click here to show their support.

 

 

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