We need you to do your bit by joining fans across the country in urging the Government to implement the recommendations of the Review in full, and to legislate to give the proposals some teeth.
Already, we've seen some club owners and the football authorities attempt to cherry-pick the Review's recommendations rather than accept them in full. Fans of every club in England and Wales are being asked to contact their MP to ask them to press the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure legislation is included in the Queen's Speech, and that the Review recommendations are implemented in full.
Below is a template that will help you put these points to your MP. If you don't know who your MP is, go to members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP. You can use the template below, or you can write your own letter. Please remember to be polite, and to make clear points. If you bcc the Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org and the FSA at email@example.com that will help us monitor which MPs have been contacted.
If you are not a member of the Trust, please change the word "member" to "supporter" in the first line of the letter. Better still, join us!
Dear [Name of MP]
LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE FOOTBALL FAN-LED REVIEW
I am writing to you as your constituent and as a member of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust (THST).
[WHERE APPLICABLE] Thank you for all your work in Parliament on football governance and promoting the voice of football fans [and for holding the government to account on these issues].
THST fully supports the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, published in November 2021. The THST Board has been engaged in constructive discussions with Tottenham Hotspur FC about the establishment of structures within the governance of the club which would comply with the fan engagement recommendations of the Review.
These form part of the overall package of recommendations of the Review which include: the creation of a new independent regulator for football to oversee the governance and finance of professional men’s football in the English leagues; introduce new more stringent tests for owners and directors of clubs; establish a new approach to corporate governance of clubs; promote equality, diversity and inclusion; require proper consultation of supporters by establishing a Shadow Board at each club; embedding protection of club heritage through creation of a Golden Share held by properly constituted supporters’ trusts; guaranteeing fairer distribution of revenues; committing to a review of women’s football and protecting the welfare of younger players.
The impetus for the review was the proposal by clubs to form a breakaway European Super League, and the need for radical reform to governance and ownership in football has once again been emphasised starkly by the sanctions imposed on the owner of Chelsea FC.
As Tracey Crouch says in her Foreword to the Report: “Football clubs are important cultural assets and must never be the playthings of owners who are simply their custodians”. This sentiment was echoed by the Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP in his evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee on 15 March 2022.
A number of the recommendations of the Review require legislation in order to be implemented, including the main recommendation of the creation by an Act of Parliament of a new Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF). Tracey Crouch emphasises in her Foreword that the recommendations should be “considered holistically and not as a set of individual options from which football can cherry pick. Stronger regulation, better corporate governance and enshrined protection on heritage issues all lead to greater confidence in the redistribution of finances. Only if taken together can we ensure the long-term sustainability of football”.
It is vital, therefore, that all the recommendations are implemented and that the government legislates to implement those that require legislation. The government has committed to responding to the Review, but has not yet formally done so. The Sports Minister confirmed to the DCMS Committee “we’re going to set up a regulator and that will require primary legislation. The timing of it is something that we are discussing at the moment”.
Time is of the essence and legislation must be brought forward without delay. Football has repeatedly failed to self-regulate. The need for prompt action has been emphasised by the situation at Chelsea. We have already seen the disappearance of Bury FC and the perilous situation faced by Derby County FC. Football clubs are community assets and it is imperative that the government brings forward legislation now before other clubs suffer unacceptable owners, reckless financial stewardship, lack of proper governance or, in some cases, extinction. Action is needed now. And football fans must be at the heart of this.
I ask you to seek from the Secretary of State for DCMS a firm commitment that the government will introduce in the Queen’s Speech this Spring the legislation necessary to implement in full the recommendations of the Review. Only if the government does so can it deliver on its promise for genuine reform of football governance in the long-term interests of the game and its fans.
Please call on the government to put fans and football first by legislating now for full implementation of recommendations of the Fan Led Review.
[With many thanks for your support]
[Your name and address]
[Draft letter ends]
18 March 2022