Clubs must respect fans after failed ESL | Suella Braverman MP

From the halcyon days of the late 19th century, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stood between the sticks, to the financial crises of the last decade, Portsmouth Football Club has remained a cornerstone of our local community.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 2:27 pm
A picture shows a placard with a message against plans for a European Super League outside Elland Road ahead of the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Liverpool in Leeds, northern England, on April 19, 2021. Picture: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

While fortunes on the pitch may have varied, the quest for glory has forged an inseparable bond between fan and club, which has been vital for Pompey’s very survival.

However, by undermining the basic principles of fair competition in the pursuit of profit, the proposals for a European Super League turn a blind-eye to the hopes and dreams of fans across the country. The competition grossly exploits the loyalty of supporters, goes against the spirit of the game and threatens our national heritage.

While the English clubs involved have now moved to withdraw from the competition – thankfully, fans made themselves heard – the steps taken by the hierarchy of these clubs demonstrates that a review into football governance should be an absolute priority. Indeed, it is important that we now harness our collective anger and confront the wider challenges that face English football.

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I am proud the government has taken a proactive stance by launching a fan-led review which will consider the financial sustainability of the men’s and women’s game, financial flows through the pyramid, governance regulation and the merits of an independent regulator.

As the prime minister said, we must also seek to put fans at the heart of how English football is run to ensure they can have an even greater oversight of the game. We are all familiar with the German-style ownership of football clubs, and I am pleased this will also be considered.

After all – football is nothing without fans, and the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust is a potent reminder of that fact. I know my colleagues in Government are ready to do whatever is necessary to represent fans and protect their interests, to ensure that even fallen giants can still dream of some distant European glory.