Posts Tagged → football governance
The pervious blog shows just how little power The FA really have, I wrote that before they published a response to the Governments requests. The whole document was a complete disgrace and considering there were over 70 different points in the governments recommendation, 16 pages from the football authorities hardly covered any of it. Richard Scudamore comments from the other day show just how much power the Premier League really has….
We’ll make sure supporters have a proper voice but that doesn’t mean they can get everything they want.
… its everything summed up in one sentence. It makes it pretty clear Scudamore is stuck in his own little word…
It’s very hard to come up with legitimate ways to put fans on boards. We don’t have a Germanic model here.
… its very simple. Include a simple rule which means a new place is created and an elected supporter from each clubs supporters trust is put on the board of each club. It doesn’t require rocket science. Most people might think that will never happen in the Premier League. Scudamore needs to be reminded Swansea already have a supporter on the board. On top of that, 64 other clubs outside the Premier League have supporters on their boards. Considering there are just over 170 supporters trusts thats a huge chunk. Considering more clubs are being taken over by the fans season by season and the shareholdings are increasing season on season. Scudamore is living in the same world as FIFA. Completely out of touch and clueless. Apart from the other facts on directors, does he know 26 clubs are owned by the fans?
Most of the clubs which are owned by the fans are from League One and below but they have been increasing in number. Clubs like Exeter, Wrexham, Wimbledon and Chester are examples of larger clubs which have struggled but have been reborn. Tranmere Rovers and other supporters trusts already have viable plans to takeover their clubs but the current plans from the football authorities limit what can be done. Scudamore comments are that not of The FA, the Government or the fans but the Premier League and its clubs. Scudamore only has the interests of the owners of the clubs at heart and nothing else. Can you imagine the Glazers, Henry, Roman or many of the other owners supporting change from the fans point of view?
The question now is, what is the Governments response to this document? Do they know details we yet don’t? Will they be public and tell us their view? Are they going to ask for more or will they be quiet and slyly accept this? If this is slowly allowed to disappear to allow the Premier League to do as they wish, something has gone seriously wrong. Serious questions should be put forward now to the Department for Culture Media and Sport to find out what the next stage is!
If you’ve heard about the report into football governance or kept up to date from the mainly the Guardian or Telegraph. Both have been reporting the stories on the issue so you should have some idea of where the debate and changes are up to. I doubt think the Sun have even mentioned it, too busy reporting Rihannas new hair do, thats the stuff that matters.
At the end of the Culture and Media and Select committee on football governance a report was passed on to the government to review. In the Governments final publication, this was made clear on more than one occasion.
75. The Government is fully committed to ensuring that the changes put forward by the football authorities make a lasting and substantive difference. If that does not happen the Government will introduce a legal requirement on the Football Association to implement the appropriate governance clauses by the swiftest possible means.
Unsurprising one of the first recommendations that was made, has been reportedly completely ignored. The 10 man board with 6 independent non-executive directors hasn’t happened and they couldn’t even agree a small change. Currently on the 14 man board sit 3 Premier League Directors and 2 Football league Directors, its not hard to see why they won’t give up those posts any time soon. If the football clubs have control of the FA, it means the football clubs can still do pretty much as they like. It seems again they’ve got their own way and its as if the introduction of the licensing system is going to say ‘we’ve set up a licensing system and set up the independent body for it but let us off on the other areas.’
The other thing is, this could be a challenge to the Government on areas they really don’t want to change and if the Government did get involved theres a possibly the England Team would banned by FIFA. If the England team was banned just before the Euros, there would be uproar but if thats a price that must be paid, so be it. Football refusing to sorting its self out and allowing a long list of famous clubs to go bust is unacceptable in my book. They been clearly warned and if they don’t want to change, make them by what ever means possible.
It also makes you think what other areas within the governments report have they refuse to move on and it also makes you think the ones they have changed will have been to the complete minimum. Many people think the governments report itself was weak, so to see some key areas within a weak report completely missed shows just how backwards our game is. If The FA have refused to complete just one single point and if they have made it so its the minimum of changes on the rest, the Government should take steps straight away. It shows the football authorities can’t run themselves to do the very basics as the government trusted them to do so and it also means the Government must step in. The government has also been pressured to support supporter ownership in football and they if can’t even change the FA board we have serious problems which have been proven to be bigger than they were before.
In less than nine days the football authorities (The FA, Premier League and Football League) will have to produce a plan of introducing measures spelled out in Octobers government response to the football government report. I’m sure we’ve all looked at it but some of us like me haven’t looked at it closely enough. Many of us believed it would do nothing and was a halved arsed effort. Firstly consider this… Some of the items in the governments response refer directly back to the the report. For example we all believed the Government had passed over leveraged buyouts but that is not the case. I even said in a past blog they’d completely bottled it. This past blog shows you need to go into more detail… Leveraged Buy Outs To Be Banned
Another area which I haven’t looked at in more detail until now is covered in the governments response under point 41.
41. One option that we have considered is to specify within the new club licensing system a trigger point that would require clubs to make a seat available to one or more supporters’ representatives on the Board. Such a trigger point could be the next time the club changes hands; the point at which the officially recognised supporters organisations reach a certain size; or by a majority vote of eligible supporters. There will be other options as well.
Point 41 means within the club licensing system there will be a trigger point system for the officially recognised supporters trusts to place members on the board of football clubs. The recommendation says these will include a change of ownership, the size of a supporters trust, by a vote and that there will be others options. If this had been in place in the past, clubs over the last few years like Leeds, Plymouth and Portsmouth who have had problems could have placed a member on the board for greater power and transparency.
This trigger point system to get a member on the board for many clubs may only come about at the point when a club changes hands or gets in trouble. I think many people have passed over the other trigger points. The change of ownership has been happening since football clubs were created and for all clubs this will come around but for a club like Manchester United or Chelsea where the owners say they have a ‘long term interest’ or another club which could be anywhere in the leagues which hasn’t changed hands for 20-30 years like Wigan, that system doesn’t and won’t work. A key recommendation here is once an officially recognised supporters organisation reaches a certain size instead of changing hands. Most football clubs even in the Premier League may only have at best a few 1000 members or less, some only have 100s. Norwich City for example a Premier League club have over 600 members but own 1200 shares worth a value of £121,000 in their club. Swansea City fans already have a member on the board due to the fact they own 20% of the club. The Manchester United Supporters Trust back in 2005 had a touch over 30,000 members. They now have over 175,000 and if this trigger point for example requires 1000 or even 10,000 members, surely from day one of the new licensing rules, our supporters trust would meet the requirement triggering that point. A trigger point like this could do two things. One, trigger on the day its introduced for those who meet the criteria and two other supporters trusts would surely have a big inventive to promote themselves and grow to meet that target. If the target was 1,000 which to me seems realistic. Reading, Spurs, Arsenal and others would meet it but many wouldn’t. I believe a target of anything over 10,000 would make it impossible for most clubs to achieve and impossible for smaller clubs.
A licensing system so clubs have to talk to fan groups like IMUSA/MUST, possible members on the board, supporters trusts given first options on future takeovers via administration, leveraged buyouts banned, protection of shares in football clubs, full transparency on the ownership of football clubs and its debts is all very much on the cards. We could have done with all that in 2005 and today the next club in trouble will be Arsenal. Hopefully this will protect them from big debts and American owners. Currently this all feels like a pipe dream but if we then consider that by next Wednesday the footballing authorities have to agree a plan as set out in the response and that the government want most of the recommendations in the response in place by the start of the 2012-2013 season it becomes much more real. Of course for many of us it won’t be real until it happens.
The phone hacking inquiry has allowed the football goverance inquiry report to be put back two weeks. It was due out on the 18th of July which was the Monday just gone but the release date is now the 29th July which is next Friday. Hopefully this should allow for full weekend coverage in the press.
The was also an article in the financial times which mentioned just one of a number of measures set to be imposed on the Premier League by the Government Report. What is surprising is the independent chairman believes there is nothing wrong within the game. Those are the sorts of independent directors who do nothing for the game. The people given these roles should believe there is a problem and have the governments & fans interest at heart. It’s completely pointless to appoint someone who believes everything is perfectly fine the way it is.
When you thought it was all going down hill, finally we have some good news. Even through this isn’t the full amount of money on offer, £268,292 has been granted for Supporters Direct to carry on operating. There is another £1.2m which will be considered over the next three years and it’s important Supporters Direct sees this money.
Another article that has been doing the rounds is from the telegraph and reports on the football governance inquiry. The word ‘radical’ is used and a number of the changes should finally remove the Premier Leagues power it has over ownership. The licensing system which has been recommend by many parties will over see ownership, directors and club finances. Another important point that has been stressed again is The FA and Premier League must follow the recommendations or legalisation will be introduced. Issues to do with future football ownership of football clubs are still unknown.
Over the last few weeks there have been a number of meetings between the select committee and those invited to give their evidence. Our Supporters Trust has put much faith into this but the question is what happens once its all over? What happens if nothing happens or something happens but it not what any of us wanted? Lets say the rules change but this makes no difference to ourselves? The Red Knights totally failed, followed by a failure by the government to take action. At that point its pretty clear we can’t rely on anyone but ourselves. The inaction by ourselves to do something on our own accord over god knows how many years will hit hard. The Redknights was luck of the draw, caused by Glazers actions. It wasn’t MUST who decided we’re going to raise money, it was someone else. Now again they are relying on an outside party such as Qatar to make a chance. It should have never happened like that. There are 1,000s of us last year thinking ‘phoenix fund’. They had a fantastic chance to start raising big money. If the fans want to buy into the club, they have to raise money, that’s a stone wall fact. What have we raised? 100,000 email addresses and the on rest I’ve not got a clue. They won’t tell anyone or talk about. As an example theres a club called FC United. They have around 2,000 members and they’ve managed to raise between £1.3m in community shares alone. That doesn’t include any donations towards the ground or money used to keep the club going. How many paid members? They won’t say. How much in the phoenix fund? They won’t say. The site says 167,000 members but that means nothing if action doesn’t follow it. It should read the figure in the Phoenix Fund. Money talks more than words. Ask Malcolm Glazer. The trust and the people who run it will see this as criticism but a lot of us will say, this is the truth. Inaction and lack of information. They have Obamas advertising company promoting them, use it correctly, raise some bloody money and cause some damage.
I’ll bring up another issue. The blog run on their site has gone from the story of the Red Knights to quickly advertising BetFred deals. To be honest, this is the type of thing that made many people give up back when the club house was the biggest thing on the MUST agenda. The idea did exist back in 2007, lets not say it didn’t. The idea to offer reds deals to put in the phoenix fund wasn’t a bad idea but it was poorly thought out. The biggest issue MUST are involved with currently is the football governance committee. That is the Be and End All. Not Bedfred, if they wanted a tiny amount of credibility they’d blog every tuesday and provide links to the live feed. Have they done any of this? No. If they want to use Betfred, it should be to promote the trust, not using the blog once every three weeks to advising a company. If Fred doesn’t want to promote MUST on his site or in his shops, tell him to do one. It no loss to me or anyone else. I don’t really understand what the people at the top of MUST are thinking but I think, its time for a big change.
We’ve all seen David Gills comments during the Football Governance Inquiry and for me they are a disgrace. According to him if you are one of the 167,000 members of MUST your view does not matter or if you are part of IMUSA you view does not matter. Anyone according to him calling for the owners to leave is someone who they will not talk with and to be honest I believe everyone wants them to go, no matter how extreme the view is. Some might want Qatar or they might want the fans to take over but everyone on the planet knows, United would be better without the Glazer. I believe that is a view shared by all, by those who protest or not. Its likely a view even shared by David Gill but due to his massive pay cheque, he refuses to believe it. To me that means its only his and a few Americans view that matters. David Gill thinks YOUR VIEW DOES NOT MATTER. The rest of the information he put out was also mostly lies and bullshit. Andersred has looked at some of the figures he gave out and those were wrong. Gill basically lied to Parliament and told a group of people voted for in a democratic system, their constitutes views don’t matter and they weren’t going to be listened too. That could back fire big time. Gill also said the International support didn’t really care about the issues or didn’t know about them. I don’t agree with that view as some of the followers on twitter hate the glazers more than many of the domestic fans.
MUST today called for International growth in their membership and many people may think, why would you want to do that? The Trust and the movement needs as much support as possible. In its current state everyone needs to step it up a gear and the Trust need to plan to promote its self on a massive scale. I can only do so much so if you haven’t joined The Manchester United Supporters trust do it now. It doesn’t matter if you from Salford or Mexico.
I’d also call not just for people to join for free but to put into the Withdrawal Share Capital fund. This is the Phoenix fund which would part fund the fans taking a stake in the club if it ever got to that stage. This goes for existing free members or existing paid members.
They’ll also be calling on fans to contact their local MP in the coming weeks and push the Football Governance Inquiry to make the change. MUST might not be calling for a boycott or a protest but they’ve got the Government questioning David Gill, who then made abit of fool of himself and the rest of football. This could by May force through the bigger changes, we’ve all been waiting for. Who caused this debate? Our Supporters Trust highlighting the problems.
#LUHG you can follow and question me @wewantglazerout
I’d like to reward at least one person from my followers on twitter for their support towards the cause. The cause is the promotion of what’s wrong in football, not just removing Glazer. I’ve done this in the past but I believe this is a mile stone to do it. People say its dead but when someone sees just one Green and Gold scarf, they start thinking about the issue. That for me, means a psychological solution to the problem. Am going to send out one free Green and Gold scarf to the 2,000th follower of the @wewantglazerout twitter account. Worth £5 and it will be from The Manchester United Supporters Trust. I’d love to send everyone something but I don’t have a money tree. I’ve done these in the past and I’ll consider doing another one in the future for the next big mile stone.
The Rules -
These are my rules, I’ll tell you if your the 2,000th by twitter. Don’t tweet at me moaning you were it, I’ll ignore you. I decide.
No fake accounts. No repeat accounts. Example, unfollowing, then following back.
Must hate Glazer and I will post anywhere in the world depending on location, access(Libya might be hard to post to but I’d try) and postage price. The person notified should contact me within 24 hours otherwise it moves to the next person. If you contact me saying you already have one, I can pick someone else, instead.
The Aim Is To Promote The Cause Against Glazer and The Issues Within Football Ownership and Governance. Spread it and don’t forget it.
I’ll make this very clear, the Evidence from the Football Inquiry so far is mostly saying yes, you could even judge the Premiers League Evidence as open to debate, they didn’t say no like the FA, which is very interesting. Here are just a few examples where intervention would be justified by those who submitted evidence.
Supporters Direct – “We suggest a time-limited Act which provides powers for the Minister to take all necessary action to introduce a thorough licensing regime should such not be introduced by football”
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust – “Establish a Licensing system to address club debt, financial instability and to ensure the clubs increase supporter influence.”
Football Supporters’ Federation – “Government to intervene as a facilitator to ensure that essential governance reforms are introduced by the FA”
The Fulham Supporters Trust – “We believe that, due to poor governance of a domestic game that is still riddled with money and credibility problems, government intervention in football is very much justified.”
Supporters’ Trust at Reading – “Government intervention is justified but it should be restricted to imposing a powerful, independent regulatory regime with two key objectives:”
Southend United Supporters’ Club Trust – “Football clubs should be run as businesses and the Sjrimpers Trust believe that government intervention is only justified when there is a clear case of mismanagement and a risk of bankruptcy.”
David Hodges (former semi-pro footballer, Leicester City Fan) – “Yes, The Government is investing £57.6m over the next three years of football. The Government has lost over £28m in unpaid tax from football clubs practicing poor governance procedures ”
Bradford City Supporters’ Trust – “Government Intervention should establish the core governance principles for the sport and provide powers that are sufficient to protect the new arrangements from eternal pressures, especially those arising from the excessive commercial weight of the Premier League”
Fisher FC – “Government Intervention is justified because football clubs are so important to communities, and to the supporters.”
Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association – “We believe that the path to a proper framework ensuring that football is run much more in the interests of the people who tic with it through thick and thin, whose only desire is the joy and the of having a club to support and to see it do well, lies in active government intervention tonsure that out game is suitably regulated.”
Paul Baggaley, Chairmen of Newark Town FC – “Yes”
Yorkshire Division Of Football Supporters’ Federation – “Football is our national game. As such Government has a duty to protect the game at levels for future generations.”
The Professional Players Federation – “Nevertheless government and its agencies do have a number of financial and regulatory mechanisms to exert considerable influence upon the governance of football”
Darlington Supporters Trust – “governance should be taken as sine qua non and we firmly believe that intervention of government and parliament would be welcomed in pursuit of these objectives”
Pompey Supporters’ Trust – “The justification for government intervention is clear”
I haven’t even added The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust or the Liverpool Supporters’ Union yet but they both say the same thing. The Government should allow Supporters’ Trust take hold of clubs holdings and The Liverpool Supporters’ Union makes it clearer than The Manchester United Supporters Trust and this is one of the most important paragraphs in the whole document – “As a starting point, we propose that the Government Legislates to introduce a “transfer window” policy whereby clubs that are in the process of changing ownership or ownership stake in excess of 20% are legally bound to offer a properly constituted Supporters’ Trust the opportunity to purchase a shareholding in the club”
Here is the Premier Leagues, The FAs and Football Leagues View On Government Intervention -
The Football League – “However, it does not believe that government intervention is appropriate at this time.”
The FA – “However, The FA believes that there is no justification for direct intervention by the Government into the running of English Football.”
The Premier League – “The failure of the market to deliver desirable public outcomes may also lead to intervention and in such circumstances the government or its agencies might do a better job. It is far proven that these conditions exist in the case of football”
From what I have seen so far I see no reason why in the summer the Government can’t give The FA a certain amount of time to clean its self up or introduce changes into the way football is run with a set time limit. This should be followed by possible intervention by Football to involve Supporters’ Trusts to take part control of clubs, this can either be done by the rules or if Football does not carry this through by a certain date, Legislation can be introduced by the Government. This Legislation could even be introduced before that date comes around meaning a fall back. This way in all areas of Football can be warned and given one chance, if they ignore this, any negative affects as The FA pointed as Fifa getting involved or The England team being banned, will not have been done the fault of the Government, the clubs, the owners or the fans. It will have been Football failing to compile and the only people to point at we’ll be the people on the boards of the Premier League, The FA and Football League. I believe the Premier League and FA knew it either happens with them or happens without them, rules changes would happen in a flash and I don’t think the Football League would argue against any new measures.
My next blog will on some of the shocking facts that are in the evidence.
Love United Hate Glazer
This week I’ve seen three things which have caught my eye, all have seen my eyebrows raised in a different manner. This blog is only about one! Now its great to see United have 9 Million fans on facebook but as fans we have bigger and more important fish to fry. The Manchesters United Supporters Trust “and now your thinking oh here we go” are as I type this working behind the scenes meeting with MPs and other big fish within football. Some of the Premier League big wigs for example. Most pricks to you and I. The reason is they have been working since the mid 1990s in some form or another, campaigning in government and one time they did win. They helped and stopped Sky taking control. They made it clear after that win we need to band to together and buy a stake in the club. Shareholders United is a famous old name. As ever, nothing goes to plan and Glazer took over. While the football governance inquiry is on and the Trust have said this themselfs in the past a realistic figure is one million members. There are currently 166,805 members signed up, so if that facebook group as 9 million likes, we as fans have issues. Every email address related to a United fan signed up to MUST is far more important than 1 million of those likes on myface. This football governance inquiry could and I am not saying it will (there is the smallest possibility, its tiny currently) allow us as fans to buy into the club. I’ve seen many fans say ’lets get one million fans and all put £10 in a pot’. We are already 10 steps ahead of you. Its called ‘withdrawnable share capital’ and in 2006 it had over £2m in it and MUST has increased its membership by over 100,000 in well under one year. I’ve got a sizeable amount of cash in the fund, alot more than just £10. Sign Up To MUST, stick £10 in and get every United fan you know to do the same or just sign up free and wait for that email to do so. If it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come but atleast you knew you weren’t one of the 8.9 Million who wasn’t ready.