Government plans to set up a new governing body for men’s football have prompted controversy. Should fans have the final say?
Huge shake-up to future of English football
Government plans to set up a new governing body for men's football have prompted controversy. Should fans have the final say?
The government has announced plans to set up a new governing body or "regulator" which will decide how British football clubs are run.
The regulator's new rules will insist that fans are involved when it comes to decisions such as choosing the logo, kit and names of their teams. The rules also mean that teams will only be able to compete in approved tournaments.
In addition, the regulator will prevent historic clubs from closing by sharing funds from wealthier clubs, as well as setting up tests in which club owners must prove they are suitable for the job and have built their own wealth legally.
Explaining the plans, the government commented: "The English game remains one of the UK's greatest cultural exports. That is why the government is taking the necessary ... steps to ensure that continues for generations." 1
The new announcement raises questions as to how far fans should be involved with the running of their clubs, as well as whether clubs be left to govern themselves independently. Should anyone should be allowed to buy and own a British football club? If not, why not?
Some key figures in football were unimpressed with the new plans, believing that too much interference could prevent football clubs from attracting new financial investors and becoming more successful. The Premier League said: "It is vital regulation does not damage the game or its ability to attract investment and grow interest."
Non-football fans may argue that none of this is really that important when there are wars and people without food, yet football contributes a huge amount to the British economy. Between 2019 and 2020, the league contributed £8.6 billion to the UK economy.2
Whoever controls and manages British football, surely we need to make sure it survives but also that it is managed fairly.
Should fans have the final say?
Yes: Football would not exist as a professional sport and industry without its fans providing vital income to the clubs. Therefore they deserve a say in how it is run.
No: Football's financial contribution to the UK economy is huge and football is a business as well as a sport. As such it should be run by professional businessmen who understand how to ensure its success and profitability.
Or... British football plays a significant part in British culture as well as the economy, so its future should not just be decided by businessmen and financiers but also by the fans who support it.