Monday 7 October 2019 / 10:14 AM Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn: Our football clubs are too important to be left in the hands of bad owners

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is today calling for football fans to be given a much greater say in how their clubs are run, promising that a Labour government would empower fans and communities and review football governance.

The Labour Leader recently met Newcastle United Football Club fans campaigning against the club’s owner Mike Ashley. Under Labour’s plans, football supporters’ trusts would be able to purchase shares when clubs change hands and have the power to appoint, and fire, at least two members of a club’s board of directors.

Labour has also pledged to review fan participation in sports governance at all levels, and ensure that the Premier League invests 5 per cent of the income it receives for television rights into grassroots football to improve facilities and pitches and support the next generation of players and coaches.

Jeremy Corbyn has also called on football clubs to pay the Living Wage to all staff, and praised football fans for initiatives such as Fans Supporting Foodbanks.

Labour’s Community Organising Unit is currently working with Newcastle United Football Club fans to organise against billionaire owner Mike Ashley, with thousands of fans boycotting the club’s games in protest against Ashley.

Labour will:

· Legislate to give supporters trusts the power to appoint and remove at least two members of a club’s board of directors;

· Legislate to enable supporters trusts to purchase shares when clubs change hands;

· Review all aspects of football governance, including fan participation;

· Ensure that the Premier League invests 5 per cent of income from television rights into grassroots football;

· Enforce anti-bot legislation to crackdown on ticket-tout websites selling tickets at vastly inflated prices, and implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review;

· Ban zero-hours contracts and guarantee a Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all staff, including those working at football stadia on match days;

· Add women’s sporting events including the Women’s Football World up, to the list of key sporting events to be broadcast free-to-air;

· Improve access provision for disabled sports fans by ensuring that rapid improvements are made and by prioritising action to make clubs comply with obligations under the 2010 Equality Act.

Speaking after the meeting, Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn said:

“A football club is more than just a club, it is an institution at the heart of our communities. Clubs are part of the social fabric that binds us together.

“They are too important to be left in the hands of bad owners like Mike Ashley who put their business interests ahead of everything else, marginalise supporters and even put the financial security of clubs at risk.

“Sport must be run in the interests of those who participate in it, follow it and love it, not just for the privileged and wealthy few. We will ensure that supporters have a say over how their club is run and review how fans can have more of a say about how all of our sporting bodies are run.

“Under a Labour government the Premier League riches will be used to invest in grassroots football for the good of all our communities, fans will be protected from rip-off online ticket touts and staff who work at football clubs will get security and a living wage.”