We are very pleased to report that CAST board members will be playing a significant part in the Fan-Led Review of football which is now underway. The review panel (chaired by Tracy Crouch MP) has begun hearing evidence and CAST will be contributing directly to this process. On June 21st Heather McKinlay, Heather Alderson, Nigel Kleinfeld and Lauren Kreamer will have a "one-to-one" session with the panel, specifically on the recent experience of Charlton Athletic and the lessons that can be learned from that in terms of football governance; how clubs are purchased; the vetting of potential owners; how sanctions are imposed, and transparency.
We have already been working alongside other Supporters Trusts to put together a written submission to the panel. Among the many points discussed have been:
The setting of a core principle that owners of football clubs are the temporary custodians of community assets which are of great importance to millions of people and should therefore be subject to a licensing system to improve on the current owners & directors test. Set up rigorous new tests for owners and potential owners which will be applied before a football club can be acquired and continuously thereafter.
The appointment of a regulator (funded through football) to administer the licensing system so that the conduct of owners is not regulated by owners. The regulator to oversee the FA, EPL, EFL, NL and the elite women's game and to have powers to promote improvements and apply sanctions to owners who have failed in their stewardship. To have power to refuse significant changes to the pyramid.
Club ownership & supporters' rights
A “golden share” held by supporters’ representatives, enabling them to approve or refuse significant decisions, defined as “reserved matters” - such as the name of the club or the stadium. Rights for supporters to invest in their club to develop supporter ownership over time, where it can be made to work effectively. A right for supporters to buy a club’s ground to protect it from development or loss to football. The pros and cons of a supporter director on the board.
More consistency, efficiency and genuine commitment to meaningful dialogue and new standards for structured dialogue (to be monitored by the regulator). Supporters’ representatives on the boards of FA, EPL, EFL, NL and the Regulator;
Protecting & developing football
- Protection of the main features of the pyramid
- Maintain league and cup competitions - resist expansion of the European game;
- Improve diversity and inclusion at all levels of the game, within the authorities and at clubs;
- Require clubs to reduce carbon emissions and improve their sustainability;
- Protect everyone involved in the game from abuse, everywhere;
- Safeguard the rights and career prospects of young players, improving the effectiveness of academies at all levels, reviewing the Elite Player Performance Plan;
- Limit the ability of players‘ agents to extract huge sums from the game, for little added value.
The womens' game
The women’s game to be supported to develop and improve, ultimately achieving equal status with the men’s game.
The Premier League to share more funding throughout the pyramid, narrowing the gaps between leagues and to further support charities, the grassroots and the Football Foundation. Consideration to be given to levies on European competition income and foreign transfer fees.
- Restrict losses incurred by clubs by effective limitation of spending on wages to a clear percentage of income, backed-up by ensuring all players’ contracts contain relegation clauses;
- Reduce permitted losses and require owners’ support to be by equity investment not loans;
- Prohibit leveraged buy-outs and loans to clubs by extortionate interest rates;
- Protect the capital assets of clubs - their grounds and training facilities;
- Restrict borrowing to capital purposes and essential cash-flow maintenance;
- All licensed club companies to be based in UK and subject to UK law;
- Improved transparency of club operations and financial information, including the requirement to produce full (not abbreviated) accounts.
- Prohibit forced buy-back of supporters’ shares.
This review is meant to be fan-led. Your opinions will inform our input. Please let us have your thoughts on any of the above matters to firstname.lastname@example.org
Background to the review: