Pompey’s community takeover a ‘trailblazer’

EXAMPLE Penny Mordaunt MP. Picture: Joe Pepler
EXAMPLE Penny Mordaunt MP. Picture: Joe Pepler
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THE community takeover of Pompey has been held up as an example in a debate about reforming governance of football.

Conservative MP Damian Collins has put forward a bill proposing to give football authorities great powers to block the ownership of a club by someone who is not believed to be a fit and proper person.

It would also make it easier for supporters’ organisations to raise the finance required to acquire a stake in their club.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt is backing the bill, and spoke in a parliamentary debate yesterday.

She said: ‘I see Pompey’s takeover as a trailblazer and I see it as a catalyst for change.

‘We need to show the same resolve that Pompey showed.

‘Football clubs are more than just businesses.

‘They do bring economy to an area but they bring a sociable aspect too.

‘It did really take a club like Portsmouth to achieve a community takeover.

‘Anyone who has been to Fratton Park knows the tenacity of the fans.

‘I am happy to support the bid and support the bill.’

Ms Mordaunt said the misfortunes that befell Portsmouth Football Club are an example of why reform of football governance is needed.

She added: ‘Balram Chainrai was still the owner of the club and had a £17m charge on the stadium and refused to sell it to the [Pompey Supporters Trust] when they offered £3m for it.

‘It wasn’t until the court case in April that he agreed an out-of-court settlement.

‘If a supermarket, say Tesco, closed, it would be easy for me to tell my constituents that they could get their bread and milk from another supermarket down the road, say Sainsbury’s.

‘But I wouldn’t be able to tell Pompey fans that they can go and support Southampton Football Club instead which is just down the road.’

The bill would also require all clubs to publicly disclose the identity of their owners, and all creditors to be compensated equally should the club go into administration.