The European Super League debacle is the straw that broke the camel’s back, but foreign money has been ruining football for decades. We need root and branch reform to reset football and to make sure this never ever happens again. It has been a tragic week for football, but it is also an opportunity to recognise how badly things have gone wrong, to enact radical reforms, and to get back to the foundations of the English game that began in this country, but captured the imagination of the world.”
– Ben Harris-Quinney, Bow Group Chairman
Calls to Action:
We call on MPs and the Government to enact legislation, work with the Football Associations, the Premier League, and the football leagues to enact:
- A ban on foreign ownership of any UK football club.
- A ban on any non-British citizen having a board level executive role at any UK football club.
- Private ownership of football clubs mandated to no more than 49% / fan ownership placed at a minimum of 51%.
- A post-Brexit policy review to depart from prior EU rules governing football, and VISA regulations to increase the minimum number of British players that each football club is required to have as part of their squad.
- The withdrawal of work and residence VISAs of foreign football owners and executives, allied to immigration reform.
- A review of broadcasting law to ensure that football remains affordable to view.
- The settting up of an independent government regulator to oversee the above regulations, functioning from within the Department for Culture Media and Sport, and reporting to Parliament. The regulator must have the power to enact heavy fines and penalties for abusers.
“Football isn’t a business, it is a sport. Clubs are foundations of members, not plutocrats, forever tied to our towns and cities, and to our country. It is a fundamental part of our identity both with club teams and national teams. The European Super League debacle is the straw that broke the camel’s back, but foreign money has been ruining football for decades. We need root and branch reform to reset football and to make sure this never ever happens again. For too long the Conservative Party has eluded to the notion that greed is good, but greed is not good, greed destroys. This is an important opportunity for the government to underline that.
The Prime Minister was right to make a very strong statement on the European Super League, but he has suggested that if the clubs pull out of it the government will take no further action. That is the wrong approach.
The Premier League may be a great commercial success, but the events of this week have shown that executives have come to see football as only commerce. Is it right that for several decades now most of our top teams have been largely made up of executives, managers, and players that have no connection to the cities and countries they play in? It is not to deny the great contributions so many from all over the world have made, but to call for a rebalancing to tie clubs back to their communities.
It has been a tragic week for football, but it is also an opportunity to recognise how badly things have gone wrong, to enact radical reforms, and to get back to the foundations of the English game that began in this country, but captured the imagination of the world.
We therefore call on the government to use this opportunity and the freedom Brexit has granted to enact legislation, work with the Football Asoociations, the Premier League, and the football leagues to give our game back to the fans, and boot out foreign investors that have made the game rich, but the fans and our communities poor.”
– Ben Harris-Quinney, Bow Group Chairman
“The ownership of football should not be by the uber-rich, but by the fans. This is about football, but at the same time it is bigger than football, it’s also about who has ownership of society. Is it a tiny elite, or is it the people?”
With the political will of both the Conservatives and Labour, a Football Conduct Authority can be up and running within weeks, and once all MPs understand the strength of feeling on this matter major legislative changes can also flow very quickly.
Legislation should include a compulsory boardroom representation and ownership for fans, very much like Theresa May’s plan to put workers in the boardroom in the 2017 manifesto, which was supported across Parliament.
Football is far far more popular in the country than it is in Parliament, and a lot of MPs haven’t realised how important this issue is to the people. Boris will be judged on the doorstep if he kept his word to do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop the European Super League, but more importantly how he uses this once in a generation chance to reform the relationship between the nation and its most beloved sport, and to make sure this never happens again.”
– Nic Conner, Bow Group Senior Research Fellow