Closed petition Enforce the “50+1” Rule for professional football club ownership in the UK

Bring in a law which enforces professional football clubs to have at least 51% fan ownership similar to how the Bundesliga operates this rule.

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The new “European super league” plans show the clear greed of elite football club owners in England. This precedent of profit over people is already taking the game away from everyday people who founded and made the sport what it is. This law would ensure decisions made around the clubs would take the fans and good of the game as a priority over money.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 14 June 2021

Watch the petition 'Enforce the “50+1” Rule for professional football club ownership in the UK' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 24 May 2021

The European Super League proposals demonstrated now is the right time to launch the fan-led review of football governance. This will be a comprehensive examination of the English football system.

Read the response in full

As announced in the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Oral Statement on 19 April, Tracey Crouch MP will Chair a fan-led review of governance and will engage extensively with fans to ensure their experiences are at the centre of the review. As a former Minister for Sport, and a football fan herself, she is well-placed to deliver on this key aspect. Fans are the lifeblood of the sport, and the Government is committed to ensuring that their views are at the heart of the review.

We are currently working through the structure of the review with the Chair, including the timeline for publication of the report, and will provide updates shortly. Given the seriousness of these issues, we will be looking to move at pace on this. As the Terms of Reference demonstrate, Ministers and officials have collated ideas and issues from the numerous meetings with stakeholders over the past year. This will be a thorough examination of the English football system looking at issues of ownership, governance and funding through the football pyramid, including the women’s game and lower league football. As part of this, the review will be exploring governance structures in other countries, including ownership models, and whether any aspects can be beneficially translated to the English league system. It will also examine progress against the Government’s Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement, which set out recommendations to improve engagement, such as structured dialogue between clubs and fans.

We know how important this review is for fans across the country and will ensure that their voices are at the heart of the review.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Other parliamentary business

Share your views on the governance of football with MPs

On Monday 14 June, MPs will debate petitions relating to the governance of football, including the petition you signed. The debate will be led by Petitions Committee member Jonathan Gullis MP, and MPs from all parties can take part. The Government will send a Minister to respond.

Ahead of the debate, MPs on the Petitions Committee would like to hear your views on how football is run in England, and what actions you feel the Government should take to protect the 'football pyramid'.

Share your views by completing this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/KTPB3R/

The deadline for responses is 9am on Tuesday 8 June.

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs who are appointed by the House of Commons to consider petitions started on https://petition.parliament.uk and public (paper) petitions.

Find out more about the work of the Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

Follow the Committee on Twitter for real-time updates on its work: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions

MPs debate petitions relating to football governance

On Monday 14 June, MPs debated petitions relating to football governance, including the petition you signed.

Watch the debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zNR1ypT6iw
Read the transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-06-14/debates/21061454000001/FootballGovernance

The debate was led by Petitions Committee member Jonathan Gullis MP and Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism, responded for the Government.

What you told us about how English football is run

Ahead of the debate, the Petitions Committee ran a survey of petitioners to hear your views on how English football is run, and steps the Government could take to protect the 'football pyramid'. Many thanks to the over 9,300 of you who responded.

Read a summary of what you told us: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/36793/default/

How do petitions debates work?

Petitions debates allow MPs from across the House to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petitions debates cannot however directly change the law, or result in a vote on whether to implement the request of the petition.

MPs question the Government on the final report of its 'fan-led' review of football governance

On Thursday 25 November, MPs questioned Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, on the final report of the Government's 'Independent Fan-led Review of Football Governance'. This followed an Urgent Question by Jo Stevens MP.

Read MPs' questions and the Minister's responses: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-11-25/debates/E02AFDC3-CFBF-40B1-B9FC-A214394C2F4B/IndependentFan-LedReviewOfFootballGovernance

Read the final report of the review: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fan-led-review-of-football-governance-securing-the-games-future

In his response, the Minister confirmed that the Government would formally respond to the report "in the new year". He confirmed the Government "endorse in principle" the report's central recommendation of a "strong, independent regulator" for football.

The report's recommendations also include a recommendation that clubs be required to provide for a 'Golden Share' to be held by a body such as a supporters trust, which would require clubs to seek their consent for certain actions such as:
- selling a stadium or permanently relocating it outside of its local area;
- joining a new competition not affiliated to FIFA, UEFA or the FA; or
- changing the club badge, the club name or first team home colours.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries MP, also made a statement to the House on this matter.

Read the Secretary of State's statement: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-11-25/hcws417.

What are Urgent Questions?

If an urgent or important matter arises which an MP believes requires an immediate answer from a government minister, they may apply to ask an urgent question.

The relevant Government Minister has to come to the Chamber to explain what the Government is doing on the issue raised. The Minister will then usually take questions on the subject from MPs.

Football clubs to be required to consult fans on key decisions

On Monday 25 April, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP announced that the Government will require football clubs in England to achieve a minimum level of "meaningful engagement" with fans. Responsibility for setting out what this 'minimum level' will be will sit with a new independent regulator, which the Government has said it will create.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the Minister confirmed that the Government endorses each of the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, which published its final report in November. Following the statement, the Minister took questions from MPs.

Watch the Minister's statement: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/dfa3dd63-f1dd-4a9d-9ae9-0cd8ad647777?in=16:36:54

Read the transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-04-25/debates/8168922D-82A0-476A-B45F-0443CF28AE27/FootballGovernance

In the statement, the Minister confirmed that the new regulator will also establish a new 'owners and directors test' to "ensure that only good custodians and qualified directors can run these vital community assets".

The Government has said it will also:

  • Take steps to protect clubs' stadia, colours and badges
  • Call on the Premier League to increase financial support for clubs in lower leagues
  • Launch a dedicated review of women's football in England
  • Add the FIFA Women's World Cup and UEFA Women's European Championships to the listed events regime, meaning they will continue to be available on free-to-air television

Find out more about the Government's response to the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-fan-led-review-of-football-governance/government-response-to-the-fan-led-review-of-football-governance

The Minister said the Government will set out further details of how it plans to implement these changes in a policy document known as a 'White paper', to be published "in the summer".

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