A sensible plan

Our current might be many things (in thrall to the interests of business rather than the people, uninterested in civil liberties, the human rights of Britons wrongly detained abroad, and about to lose the next election), but stupid it isn’t. They have just announced proposals to allow supporters of football clubs the first option of buying their clubs when they’re put up for sale, as well as requiring that clubs give a stake of up to 25% to the supporters.

The proposals, which sound so radical and are so close to an election they must be too good to be true, include the following plans, should they (surprise surprise) get themselves re-elected:

  • Requiring clubs to hand a stake of up to 25% to fans in recognition of their links with their local community.
  • Implementing a change-of-control clause that would allow fans a window to put together a takeover of their club if it was up for sale or went into administration.
  • Giving the football authorities a deadline to reform the FA and remove 'vested interests' from the board, and streamline decision making.
  • Introducing a unified system of governance that co-ordinates issues such as club ownership and youth development.
  • Allowing professional leagues and the FA additional oversight of club takeovers.

Legally the government may find themselves with some problems, especially from the nest-feathering Premier League, who will want to keep things exactly how they are so wealthy businessmen can come in and do whatever they like with football clubs, before running away and leaving them with huge debts. However, should Labour win the next election (about a coinflip, right now), they claim that the scheme will hand more of the power in the game to the fans, through elected supporters trusts on boards.

A cheap piece of populist vote-grabbing if ever there was some, but if it sorts out the English game then so be it.

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