LOFT to lead call for football governance changes
LOFT's board has long been of the belief that neither the FA nor the EFL are fit for purpose when it comes to the governance of how football clubs are run. After witnessing first-hand how the football authorities stood by while Leyton Orient was being systematically driven out of existence by one of the worst club owners English football has ever seen, it is no surprise that many O's fans feel the same way.
Football clubs are more than businesses; they are community assets that should be protected when an owner "goes rogue" or runs out of money mid-season (the one usually leading to the other). Both the FA and the EFL however appear unwilling, unable, or both, to do anything of substance when that happens. And it is happening more and more – Orient's ownership problems are thankfully history, but they are a reality at Charlton, Coventry, Bolton and others, while the list of clubs is growing where wages and bills being paid late is becoming a regular occurrence.
Enough is enough. It is time for change, it is time for a football club licensing system that can do far more to protect clubs from bad owners. The idea has been mooted for some time, prompted by the growing number of 'crisis clubs' in football, and earlier this week received a boost from a ten-minute rule bill introduced in Parliament.
Tomorrow sees the first AGM of the Football Supporters' Association, the unified body formed by the merger last year of Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters' Federation. LOFT has been working to bring together dozens of other football fan groups to back our call for change - as a result, no fewer than 33 groups have agreed to put their names in support of our motion, which members of LOFT's board will be putting forward at the AGM.
This is just the beginning of a campaign to bring real change to football governance, one that LOFT will continue to drive forward as much as we can.
Text of motion:
"This meeting re-affirms the motion adopted at the 2017 AGM of the Football Supporters’ Federation, instructing the Board and National Council to press the FA and the EFL to introduce a licensing system for clubs, overseen by an independent regulator.
This meeting further notes that since then there have been an increasing number of so-called "crisis clubs" where supporters and trusts have had to contend with negligent and irresponsible owners, and where the footballing authorities have not taken action to manage or prevent such crises.
This meeting further notes that existing Owners and Directors Tests are not working and are not fit for purpose.
We recognise and support the work done by the joint FSF/SD Working Group on football governance and believe that the implementation of its recommendations would be a positive step forward. Consequently, this meeting instructs the Board and National Council as follows:
- To make it a top priority to press the FA for an independent regulator to oversee a licensing system for all clubs, as specified in the proposals of the joint FSF/SD Working Group on Football Governance
- To campaign jointly with supporters' trusts in the strongest possible terms to call for this work to be adopted
Proposed by: Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust
Supported by the following 33 trusts or supporters’ organisations who have agreed to add their name to it:
AST - Arsenal Supporters Trust
Banbury United Community FC - Banbury United Supporters Trust
BCST - Bradford City Supporters Trust
Billericay Town Supporters Society
Bluebirds Trust - Barrow Supporters Trust
Blues Trust - Birmingham City Supporters Trust
Brakes Trust - Leamington Supporters Trust
CAST - Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust
City Fans United - Chester City Supporters Trust
Clapton CFC Trust
Enfield Town Supporters Society - Enfield Town Supporters Trust
Fisher FC Trust - Fisher Supporters Trust
Forever Bury - Bury Supporters Trust
FST - Fulham Supporters Trust
Gateshead Soul - Gateshead Supporters Association
HCST - Hull City Supporters Trust
Hendon Supporters Trust
HTSA - Huddersfield Town Supporters Association
Lewes Supporters Trust
Luton Town Supporters Trust
Millwall Supporters Club
MUST - Manchester United Supporters Trust
Notts County Supporters Trust
NTFC Trust - Northampton Town Supporters Trust
OASSC - Official Accrington Stanley Supporters Club
QPR 1st - Queens Park Rangers Supporters Trust
Sheffield United Official Supporters Club
Shrimpers Trust - Southend United Supporters Trust
SST - Silkmen Supporters Trust
STAR - Reading Supporters Trust
The Poppies Trust - Kettering Town Supporters Trust
THST - Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust
Viking Supporters Co-Op - Doncaster Rovers Supporters Trust