Written by Steve Moulds
The FSA’s National Council met on 24 May, primarily to discuss FSA’s submissions to the government’s Fan-led review of football.
The chair of the review, Tracey Crouch MP, joined the meeting to outline the procedures and timetable. As this was one of her first acts as chair, it clearly indicated her determination to make this review ‘fan-led’.
Crouch explained that evidence to the review will be given through a series of interviews, with individuals, organisations and supporters’ groups invited to make presentations at sessions divided along the lines of the FSA’s structure of networks for the whole of football. She went on to explain that her intention is to submit an interim report in July with a full and final report published in October.
A panel of experts has been appointed to advise and support Crouch as she considers the evidence presented. Panel members include: Kevin Miles (Chief Executive, The Football Supporters’ Association); Roy Hodgson (former Crystal Palace and England manager); Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale (Chief Executive, Everton FC); Clarke Carlisle (former Burnley player and former Chair of Professional Footballers Association); Dan Jones (Partner, Football Finance); Dawn Airey (Chair, FA Women’s Super League); David Mahoney (Chief Operating Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board); James Tedford (Former Secretary, Southport FC); Godric Smith (Director, Cambridge United); Danny Finkelstein, independent member. (Biographies of panel members are available on the DCMS website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-expert-panel-for-fan-led-review-of-football)
Crouch made a point of stating: “The report will be my report as chair, not the panel’s, and a clear Terms of Reference has been laid out. The advisory panel will join the fan-led evidence sessions and advise on technicalities which arise from within their area of expertise, but it does not sign off the final report.
“The fan-led review has full government backing, unlike previous football governance reviews which have either been led by Culture, Media and Sport committees, or football itself, meaning that in all of those cases, Government has not had to act on their recommendations.”
The Panel met for the first time on the 24 May and Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) was also in attendance. He indicated that the government would make available the parliamentary time necessary to bring in any legislation required in the recommendations of the review.
The FSA commenced the evidence submissions on 25 May with an introduction to and summary of the full evidence it will present. This takes the form of ten, thorough evidential documents that deal with key themes around football governance that comprise: Stewardship (club licensing); Independent regulation; Club ownership and supporters rights; Supporter engagement; Protecting and developing the football pyramid; Womens’ game development; Football finances.
The Premier League Network will be called to submit its evidence on 14 June. The main submission by the FSA will be on 16 June.
Rumours around the various parties expected to give evidence to the review indicate that the expectation is the outcome of the review will result in the appointment of an independent regulator for football.
Already, post the European Super League fiasco, we have seen a few clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs attempt to pre-empt any potential outcomes by creating positions on club’s Boards for supporters or advisory fans-parliaments. The Premier League has also pledged changes to its rules to prevent clubs trying to form a break away Super League. It has also, probably wisely, negotiated an additional three years to its existing broadcasting contracts, presumably to avoid any potential fall-out from the review.
Foxes Trust will be compiling its own submission to the review, relevant to the particular circumstances of our own club and supporters. It will call on our struggle with administration and lessons learned from that period, plus our more recent history with the clubs current owners.
The Trust are willing to hear from members who have ideas or significant contributions to make around ideas for the future of football governance, as long as they are directly related to the review’s terms of reference (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fan-led-review-of-football-governance/terms-of-reference-for-the-fan-led-review-of-football-governance).
So to answer the question at the top of the page … let us hope so. It has been a long time coming!
Steve Moulds is a Foxes Board member responsible for national football issues. He is an elected member of the FSA National Council.