Supporters Direct today formally launched its proposals for football club licensing in an event held at Parliament, and hosted by Jessica Lee, Conservative MP for Erewash.
Attendees also heard from Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, MP for Old Southwark and Bermondsey, and Patron of fan-owned Fisher FC; and Labour Shadow Minister and former Fulham Supporters Trust Chair, Tom Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West; and William Gaillard, Advisor to the President, UEFA.
The proposals particularly focus on integrating supporters’ trusts into the governance of their clubs, and Lee talked about the “real momentum” behind the proposals and paying credit to the work of SD at her hometown club, Ilkeston FC.
Simon Hughes described the proposals as coming at a time of “A fantastic window of opportunity”, when bankers bonuses and other such issues of openness and fairness are at the top of the political agenda. He also described the public as being in a “mood” for change, and vowed to keep “pushing the idea forward”.
Tom Greatrex MP’s speech also backed the idea as one transcending political boundaries, and added, “Nobody seriously doubts the ability of (fans) to contribute in a constructive way. It’s right to recognise the role of fans in the new licensing arrangements as guarantors of the best interests of clubs and their communities.”
William Gaillard talked about the journey UEFA have taken towards licensing, including the introduction of Financial Fairplay, part of the new UEFA licensing criteria.
At least 30 MPs from all parties attended, including other members of the Government, and shadow ministers. Also present were senior representatives from the football authorities.
On a day where the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill was receiving another reading in Parliament, the attendance was all the more impressive.
Brian Burgess, Acting Chief Executive of SD, said “We have laid down what we consider to be sensible, considered proposals, that provide a formal route for supporters’ trusts to earn the right to be involved in the governance of their clubs in a constructive fashion. Today is evidence that we have wide-scale, cross-party support for a set of proposals that will actively enhance the relationship between supporters’ trusts, clubs and their communities.”
Supporters Direct campaigns for the wider recognition of the social, cultural and economic value of sports clubs
We are the UK’s leading body working to ensure that clubs are run responsibly and are financially sustainable
Supporters Direct aims to create the conditions in which supporters can secure influence and ownership of sports clubs
We provide guidance and support to groups in more than 20 countries throughout Europe
Supporters Direct is a community benefit society, owned by its members