MUST responds to Government response to Fan-Led Review

MUST responds to Government response to Fan-Led Review

- Independent Regulator very welcome and must be given real teeth to deal with bad club owners
- Government must now set our clear path and timeline for legislation
- White Paper should also act on supporter share ownership as “missing piece in the jigsaw” in current plans

The Manchester United Supporters Trust has responded to the publication of the government’s response to the Fan-Led Review of football, strongly backing the plans to create an Independent Regulator of English Football.

MUST believe the vital next step is for the White Paper to set out the detailed powers of the Regulator, giving them real teeth to deal with bad owners who have driven clubs into debt with unsustainable business models which ignore the interests of supporters and jeopardise the club in the long-term. Along with other supporters groups, we also call today for a clear timetable for the implementation of these plans with legislation brought forward as soon as possible.

We welcome the commitment to improving corporate governance to increase the influence of fans. We have long argued that fans being able to own a share or their club is a key part of that governance. Fans owning significant shareholdings, in our view, is one of the best long-term guarantors of clubs being run properly in the interests of supporters. The owners of Manchester United have promised – albeit yet to deliver – such a scheme at our club and we call on the impending White Paper to address this issue on a football-wide basis.

A spokesperson for MUST said: “Football clubs are community and cultural assets as much as they are commercial businesses. An independent regulator, as long as armed with real teeth, offers a route to embed that principle in regulation and force football club owners to run their clubs in a sustainable way with the long-term interests of supporters at heart. We welcome it very much and urge the government to put in place a clear timetable for delivery. We are one year on from the European Super League, and regulation is now urgent to protect the clubs loved by supporters up and down the land.

“The one missing piece of the jigsaw is support for supporter share ownership. There is no-one a company board listens to more than their shareholders, and so the best way to embed supporters interests in club decision-making is to create routes for supporters to build up meaningful shareholdings in the clubs they love. At the moment, the proposals appear silent on this issue which would be a huge missed opportunity. We urge the government to remedy this gap in their plans when the White Paper is published later in the year.”

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