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Fan ownership: MPs give their backing to letter calling for model to be adopted

More than 60 MPs and peers have given their backing to a letter to sports secretary Oliver Dowden calling for legislation allowing a fan ownership model for football clubs in the UK.

Among the signatories of the letter, written by Kate Osborne MP, are Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and Diane Abbott.

It calls for the introduction of a 50+1 fan ownership model, similar to that seen in Germany.

Support for the letter has strengthened following the failed European Super League breakaway by six Premier League clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.

The letter reads: “We are writing to call on the Government to commit now to legislating to secure the future of our national game in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

“The failed move by six of England’s biggest clubs to form part of a ‘European super league’ highlighted how little control we have as a nation over our national game, and we know the threat has not gone away. Seeing what the events of last week nearly did to the football community shows that change is needed. We believe that this moment should act as a catalyst to give fans a real stake in their own clubs.”

In practice, a football club’s season ticket holders would own a 51 per cent stake, with a ballot on any major changes needing a 51 per cent majority for approval. The 50+1 model means that supporters can vote club investors out, allowing supporters to control their club democratically

The letter says it was encouraging to hear the fan-led review into the governance of football, chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, will be considering the German fan ownership model.

On Monday, Dowden announced he had “no choice” but to move quickly and launch the government’s manifesto commitment of the review.

It will examine the potential for changes to ownership models, governance, how finance flows through the game and how to give supporters a greater say in the running of the game.

The review will seek to:

  • Assess existing scrutiny of club finances and administrative reporting
  • Appraise financial flows through the whole football pyramid
  • Examine geographical, historical and identity protections for clubs
  • Examine club interests and league systems and how these interact within the pyramid

Crouch will meet regularly with minister of sport Nigel Huddlestone before making final recommendations on what steps can and should be taken and how they should be implemented.

The report will then be presented to Huddlestone, Dowden and the Football Association before being laid out in Parliament.

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