News Sky Blues fiasco inspires Labour’s plans to set up supporters’ trusts
COVENTRY City’s decline is the major driving force behind the Labour Party’s pledge to give fans greater control of their clubs.
The Labour Party wants to see greater supporter control of football clubs and have promised to introduce powers for supporters’ trusts to appoint and remove directors, and purchase shares.
It has said it will introduce the new powers if the party is elected and Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister after the General Election on June 8.
Coventry North West Labour parlimentary candidate Geoffrey Robinson, a former CCFC chairman, has indicated the policy was heavily driven by the situation at the Sky Blues.
Under the tenure of London hedge fund Sisu, the club has dropped to the bottom tier of English football from the second in just nine years.
The group of anonymous investors is headed up by Dermot Coleman and Joy Seppala.
Under Sisu’s watch the club also faces uncertainty over its ability to remain in Coventry with no deal to play at the Ricoh Arena beyond next season.
The club’s Academy currently has nowhere to play beyond next month and there are also question marks over the future of the CCFC’s Ryton training ground, which has been listed as a possible location for housing. Labour want to introduce: Five per cent of Premier League television income must go into grassroots football.
Accredited Supporters’ Trusts would be able to appoint and remove at least two club directors.
Fans would be able to purchase shares when clubs change hands. Improvements to disabled access.
Strong regulation of ticketing to avoid problems with touting.
Geoffrey Robinson has indicated that the policy was heavily influenced by events at Coventry City, Cardiff City, Hull City, Portsmouth, Leeds United and Birmingham City.
He said: “Football clubs are part of people’s identity and sense of belonging. Our plan is to give fans a stake in their clubs.”
“Sport must be run in the interests of those who participate in it and love it.
“We all remember that day 30 years ago with a quarter of a million people on the streets celebrating. But we all know that Coventry City fans face life playing against Forrest Green Rovers in the fourth tier of English Football.
“Football clubs need to be anchored with in their communities.”
On fan ownership, Mr Robinson said: “There are many examples of clubs across Britain, controlled by trusts Exeter City, AFC Wimbledon, Wycombe Wanderers, Wrexham, AFC Telford United, Chester FC.
“Even Real Madrid and Barcelona include their supporters in boardroom decisions. We are open to discussion as to how the future looks but what we do know is the current model of football club ownership is fundamentally flawed and needs fixing.
“The Labour Party has listened to the views of fans about changing the way football is run in England and Wales. And we want to ensure they are heard by the owners of the clubs too.
“Labour believes in sharing power and responsibility with people, and giving football fans a voice is part of our plan to change our country by devolving power to our cities, towns and communities.”
You can register to vote here. http:// bit.ly/1mlm9SY