Giving fans a voice

Supporters DirectSupporters Direct are holding an event at the Houses of Parliament in February. SD Chief Executive David Lampitt explains the thinking behind it.

Although the traditional view of Christmas and New Year sees it as a valuable opportunity to recharge the batteries, in the world of football there are few busier periods – and this season has been no exception. One of the major stories to emerge in recent weeks has centred around the issue of away ticket prices at Premier League matches in particular, but also throughout the footballing pyramid.

Supporters Direct’s sister organisation The Football Supporters’ Federation have recently announced their plans to launch a campaign aimed at finding out “what fans can do to make football more affordable” – something we will be giving our full backing to.

Although the situation is worrying, it is our belief that there has never been a better time for football supporters to make their voices heard. With ticket prices and football finances now increasingly front page news, there are growing demands for changes to made to the way many football clubs are run, and how they make their decisions.

As part of this, Supporters Direct will be hosting an event at the Houses of Parliament on February 5th. It will feature speeches from Penny Mordaunt MP (Conservative, Portsmouth North), John Leech MP (Liberal Democrats, Manchester Withington) and Clive Efford MP (Labour, Eltham), and will also be attended by representatives from across the Supporters’ Trust movement.

Following the 2011 inquiry into football governance undertaken by the Select Committee for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, a number of potentially significant reforms to our game have been identified, and agreed upon in principle by the Government, football authorities (The FA, Premier League and Football League) and the most important people – the Supporters’ Trust movement. These are:

The establishment of a Government Expert Group to examine collective ownership of shares in football clubs by supporters; League rules that guarantee a Structured Relationship between football clubs and supporters; and the protection of football stadia under the 2011 Localism Act.

We are hoping that given the current environment those in charge of the game, and the country, will take the long-held concerns of football supporters into account. The work done by Supporters’ Trusts and supporter owned clubs over the past two decades has shown the true value that supporter involvement can bring to the game – now more than ever, that involvement is needed to ensure a better future for football.