European Football experienced a true ‘watershed’ moment last weekend when twelve of the most powerful clubs in the world announced that they were to up sticks and form a European Super League (ESL).
Such is the arrogance of many club owners these days that they doubtless thought it was a done deal and would be meekly accepted by all involved. Fortunately for the beautiful game, what ensued was one of the biggest revolts in sporting history. It was when Goliath took on David and lost, swiftly and spectacularly.
Although opposed by all sections of society and even by the Government, Boris Johnson and Oliver Dowden said they would do anything necessary to prevent it, the deciding factor was surely the overwhelming response of the fans who made their views very clear.
The universal opposition to this forced clubs into a massive U-turn as one by one they pulled out leaving the ESL plans in tatters. Talk about rats deserting a sinking ship, they couldn’t get in the lifeboats quick enough.
This has been rapidly followed by statements of contrition as they try to appease their fanbase but the mass demonstrations of recent days indicate this is going to be a long and uphill battle for some clubs.
On the back of the failed project “Big Picture”This has been a huge wake up call for the footballing community with awareness of a scheme that would have left all but the wealthiest and most powerful clubs impoverished if it had been allowed to proceed. They were effectively trying to steal our game and run roughshod over years of fierce and lovingly upheld tradition of league competition in England.
It is obvious that by whatever route the 12 clubs are determined to line their pockets even further at the expense of the game we all love and cherish.
One good thing that has come out of this is the launch of the long-awaited Government fan-led review, headed by Tracey Crouch, which will be a thorough investigation on all matters of football governance. This will include ownership and financial models and will put fans at the heart of its deliberations.
We have already written to our local Hyndburn MP and she has replied fully supporting both the review and the continued success of our community football club.
The Official Accrington Stanley Supporters’ Trust (OASST) has a strong and close working relationship with the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA): our chair is an elected National Council member, one of three elected to represent League One and League Two clubs at national level. The FSA have issued a statement welcoming the Government’s action after years of merely talking about the review, it can be read by clicking here.
Supporters’ Trusts and Associations across the country have worked tirelessly for years in conjunction with the FSA to push for the governance of football to be properly scrutinised. The FSA recently published its own “ Sustain the game” plan which was widely acclaimed by most in the game. Many clubs have suffered enormously as a result of bad owners and lack of oversight on how they are run and some have sadly ceased to exist, so your trust are delighted that this review is finally underway.
This however is just the beginning of the battle and we need your help and support to continue the fight and take a proactive role in the debate and how any future legislation is shaped. To do this we need you to act to ensure that you are a fully paid-up member of your OASST by reinstating your annual subscriptions or by joining for the first time by clicking here.
Remember, this is our game and we will fight together to ensure it remains in a strong and healthy state for years to come. We are fortunate to have a club under the ownership we have and one who would welcome the financial and governance reforms that are required.
On Stanley On.