This week football seemed to once again do what it does best so often by shooting itself in the foot. When everyone was talking about the great community work clubs have done during the past year and how incredibly patience supporters have been, the fiasco of the European Super League came to a head. The ESL highlighted the need for stronger regulation of football.
Everyone involved with the game should welcome the announcement of the Governments fan-led review. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport secretary of state Oliver Dowden last Monday told the Commons that the recent European Super League proposals had left the Government with no other option than to act. The Super League proposals were condemned by politicians on all sides of the House and Labour’s Jo Stevens MP, shadow secretary of state, has called for the review to show “real teeth” throughout the undertaking.
The review will be chaired by Tracey Crouch MP who was sports minister from 2015-17. Tracey wrote on Twitter "Delighted Gov has asked me to lead Review into football governance. I can assure fans that I will work with you, and for you, to consider how we keep the traditions of integrity & fair competition at the heart of the sport."
The Government’s 2019 manifesto committed to a “fan led” review of football governance and the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) who are coordinating the Sustain the Game! campaign also welcomed the announcement.
Malcolm Clarke, chair of the FSA said “The FSA welcomes today’s announcement of the launch of the fan-led review and looks forward to playing a full and central role in that. The anger from MPs on all sides of the Commons showed that a handful of billionaire owners have misjudged not only the mood of fans – but the mood of an entire nation. For years football has appeased them, but all it has done is heighten their appetite and make them stronger. Now is the time to stop that.”
With all the clubs having now withdrawn from taking their place in the ESL and are apologising to everyone for ever getting involved. It really shouldn't influence the outcome of the review or hide the areas that need to be addressed. The investigation should look at all levels of the pyramid. It can not include just the supporters of those premiership clubs and the premier league clubs themselves. Everyone involved deserves being listened to from the largest to the smallest of clubs. The strength of our national sport is based of each level being strong and cannot be weakened any more.
With the review and the possible law changes that could be made, there is a real chance to save the football pyramid. It would be a tragedy if this opportunity isn’t seized or gets kicked into in long grass. If the desire is really there to do something it needs to be taken. There may not be another opportunity in our generation to ensure change is made. Football is for everyone at whatever level they are involved.
Throughout the pandemic we have heard everyone saying that supporters were missed or that without them football isn't the same. Now is the time for them to be listened to at a national level. If you are asked to be involved, take the opportunity to do so. Give your views and your opinions whatever they may be and whenever you can do so.
Cambridge Fans United