Posts Tagged → Football Ownership
After the football governance inquiry and the complete lack of reforms by the football authorities, it wouldn’t be surprising if nothing happened and that was the end of it. Thankfully I’ve been told its not. The report put out by the FA and Premier League wasn’t detailed enough for most people and failed to mention many of the most important points the select committee covered and the Government recommended needed vast change. For that reason or not, the Department for Culture Media and Sport has already asked the Select Committee to review the response from football. This includes the FA, Premier League and Football league. After this they’ll the make further recommendations to Government. I hope they point out the areas where the football authorities completed failed to mention and fix as per the recommendations.
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.
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.
We’ve known for a long time there have been problems in football. To do with debt, ownership and on the first day of the inquest from a man who was the boss of The FA, we now know why. The Premier League works for the interests of its chairmen. It aims to keep them all happy so if David Gill says ‘the glazers own this club you keep it that way’ they’ll do there best to see The FA or anyone else can’t do anything. The FA tried once before and they got scared. Now they do as the EPL tell them. The only action they’ll take is against the odd player, to make it look like they are in charge. In reality if The FA says we want to remove all debt. The EPL will say no you won’t. The FA then goes off and crys in the corner. The FA run English Football, they are the governing body. If they put rules in place for the good of the game, all leagues should accept them. The FA is only worried about England getting banned why because that’s how its board make their cash. Shirts sales, ticket sales. Lets get one thing very very clear. The England Football Team is the last place on Earth that should be treated like Tescos. Its the national team and if takes England getting banned for the board to work this out, that will be good for football. You cannot have a governing body, which works more like a business, than a governing body. The same can be said for Fifa in areas. The FA is their to govern football. It has in the past found out many of the issues the government is discussing but has not been allowed to carry them out. UFEA and Fifa have power, The FA has none. Its why on many an issue the FA doesn’t do anything, that’s also true for matters on the pitch. They should find issues, find the solutions and put in new rules. That is The FA’s job, if it cannot do that, huge changes need to happen. Forced Changes.
Tomorrow night they’ll likely be stories floating about what Lord Triesman said to the Select Committee but I am very interesting in hearing what everyone has to say. Currently I’d say its a two sided affair but the interesting thing is none of the six to be currently to be interviewed have a strong link to football. That means its not someone from within the EPL, FA or say Manchester United. First at 10:45 am we’ll be hearing from Stefan Szymanski, Sean Hamil and Patrick Collins. At 11:45am we’ll hear from Lord Triesman, Graham Kelly and Lord Burns. The first three should be the most interesting as they are likely to give straight answers or explain in simple terms what is going on. Patrick Collins from the Daily Mail wrote this about the FA and EPL when Liverpool were in court trying to get rid of their owners.
“Now, who could argue with a word of that? And who can remember the Premier League making a remotely useful contribution to the entire debate? Who can recall them offering a frank and articulate condemnation of the appalling way in which Liverpool Football Club has been run for these past three years?
Not their style, I’m afraid. In their view, owners may do pretty much as they choose; be they Tom or George, the dearly departed Shinawatra or the geekish Glazers, who have saddled Manchester United with the kind of debt which is beyond shame or comprehension. Fill your boots, chaps, but please try not to harm the ‘brand’. As for the FA, the people who used to accept responsibility for the way in which English football conducts itself: nothing.”
So we know Patricks view already. He knows like do Liverpool and United could be took over by Kim Jong Ill and the FA would let them take them over. If more people like Patrick are interviewed, the FA could get destroyed. Not stepping in when Portsmouth were in trouble, not stepping during the Glazer takeover and not stepping in when Liverpool had issues. To be honest the only thing the FA would have do is likely fine all the clubs and dock them points for asking for help. The ‘its not our problem’ needs to end and with people like Patrick being interviewed we have a good chance. Its likely 3 more of the people being interviewed could say similar things. Triesman we’ll likely be one of these people. He told the EPL there was too much debt and now hes gone, the new guy says its not that much of a problem. Quiet worrying that the former head of The FA said there was too much debt in football and now The FA says there isn’t. So I am betting on atleast 2 people on the side of the fans, with no one yet insight from the Glazer, Hicks or the EPLs camp. Day One Could Be 1:0 To The People. For more updates follow me on twitter @wewantglazerout , I’ll be trying to pick out the key parts tomorrow after everything has been said.