20 May 2021

Dowden: Interim fan-led review of football to be published ‘by the summer’

20 May 2021

An interim report from the fan-led review into football governance is expected to be published “by the summer”, Oliver Dowden has said.

The Culture Secretary told MPs that the review, brought forward by the Government due to controversies over the proposed European Super League, will be “serious” and consider ownership, finance and supporter involvement in the game.

He also confirmed that the expert panel for the review will be announced this weekend and will include “players, management, regulators and, of course, fans”.

Speaking in the Commons during Digital, Culture, Media and Sport departmental questions, Mr Dowden said: “Football is nothing without fans so it’s been a joy to see them back cheering on their teams this week.

“And we stand unequivocally on the side of fans, our manifesto committed to putting them front and centre of our review of football governance and we are delivering on that.”

He went on: “This is a serious review and I know that people want to see change and this review will deliver it.”

Responding to a question from Labour MP Dame Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) on when the review will report back to the House, Mr Dowden said: “I would expect an interim report by the summer and a fuller report by the autumn.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Zarah Sultana (Coventry South) asked the Government whether it would adopt a 50+1 model of approval from season ticket holders for big decisions made by football clubs.

The review will proceed at pace and we will then proceed at pace to implement any recommendations that follow from it

She told the House of Commons: “I know fans’ anger at owners’ decisions all too well.”

She went on: “Ultimately, this will only be changed with fan ownership like the 50+1 rule in Germany, but the Government can make a more immediate change to improve it.

“On major decisions, like moving ground or forming a new league, it could require clubs to secure a 50% plus one majority from season ticket holders.

“Will the Government heed this demand or will it just kick the problem into the long grass?”

Responding, Mr Dowden said: “The terms of reference for the review explicitly say that we will be exploring governance structures in other countries, including ownership models and whether any aspects could be beneficially translated to the English league system.

“The review will proceed at pace, as I set out in an answer to a previous question, and we will then proceed at pace to implement any recommendations that follow from it.”

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