Restoring Football to the Community
Football, with its roots firmly in working class Britain, should become the “people’s game” once again. In recent years external predatory capitalist forces have stolen the game from the people. We see ever-increasing commercialisation and exploitative merchandising.
Financial institutions, particularly from overseas, leach billions out of our proud football clubs and exploit the traditions that uphold this beautiful game to make ever increasing profits. In addition to pricing working class fans out of the game profit driven owners are exploiting football clubs in a fashion that is unsustainable in the long term, often leaving our clubs burdened with debt backed by the land assets that really interest foreign investors.
We believe that a fan owned model would provide the best safeguard to prevent a situation where parasitical entities suck the blood out of the game. A model of club ownership that is more in tune with the fanbase would tend to be more successful and sustainable than one that runs counter to it.
The success of the club would be prioritised by fan-owned clubs rather than emphasis given to predatory profiteers lining their own pockets. The aim of fan owned clubs would be to make the club sustainable and re-invest money for its further development. This would have an additional benefit of creating a more democratic, transparent and accountable structure that would deliver greater social value for the local communities in which they operate.
We already have numerous successful examples of fan owned clubs throughout the world. In Germany, under current licensing arrangements operated by the Deutsche Fussball Liga, football clubs are obliged under law to be at least 51% fan owned. Memorably, the 2012/13 Champions League was contested by FC Bayern (which is 75% fan owned) and Borussia Dortmund, two clubs owned by their members.
We already have 17 clubs in the English pyramid that are wholly owned by supporters – including Telford United, Wycombe Wanderers, and FC United of Manchester and these need our protection. We will also encourage local community engagement to discover new sports talent (and not only in football) and restore playing fields to local communities.