In September, Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah presented a petition, which had received over 21,000 online signatures, to Parliament calling for greater transparency from the Premier League following the collapse of the Newcastle United takeover.
Two months later, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP, has sent her a deeply disappointing response.
Chi said: “This is a wholly inadequate response to all the football fans who signed and supported the petition. It states that “football clubs form an integral part of local communities” and yet the Government refuses to take action to improve Premier League transparency and accountability”.
“I cannot understand how it took the Secretary of State two months to write this series of clichés, referring to recommendations from 2016 and the repeated promise of another review “in due course”.”
“Fans need to have a real involvement in their clubs and the Fan-led Review of Football promised in their manifesto needs to happen now. Otherwise the Premier League will continue to ride roughshod over the interests of fans and communities across the country.”
Ms Onwurah believes football clubs are an important part of a city’s cultural identity and local economy, but fans don’t get any say on who owns their club. She fears the Premier League’s takeover process will continue to lack transparency, accountability and consistency and fans will remain feeling they have no voice.
Notes for Editors
- Petition presented in September calling for transparency and accountability from the Premier League: https://chionwurahmp.com/2020/08/premier-league-petition/
- Response to the Petition by DCMS Minister: https://chionwurahmp.com/2020/11/response-by-department-for-digital-culture-media-and-sport-to-the-petition-on-premier-league-transparency/
Football clubs form an integral part of local communities up and down the country. Throughout the pandemic football clubs have been playing their part and providing vital support to their local area.
It is crucial that fans’ views and perspectives are listened to. The Government’s Expert Working Group on football supporter ownership and engagement in 2016 set out a number of recommendations to encourage greater engagement between supporters and those that run their club, while also helping to remove barriers to supporter ownership. The Premier League and English Football League now require clubs to meet with supporters at least twice a year to discuss strategic issues, giving fans the opportunity to shape the direction of the club.
The Premier League is responsible for the Owners’ and Directors’ Test which was used to assess the proposed takeover of Newcastle United. The Government have no role in this. The sale of the club has always been a matter for the parties concerned, and for the Premier League to assess under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test.
The Government will undertake a fan-led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test. Fans should be at the heart of future plans to reshape football governance. We will announce the scope and structure of the review in due course.