’50+1′ ownership considered in review

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April 23, 2021
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    Fans protest at Chelsea on Tuesday before it was announced the six English clubs would not join a European Super LeagueFans protested at Chelsea on Tuesday before it was announced the six English clubs would not join a European Super League

    New ownership structures at clubs will be assessed as part of a fan-led review into English football.

    The review, brought forward by the UK government due to controversies over the proposed European Super League, will consider ownership, finance and supporter involvement in the game.

    It will also assess if an independent regulator may have beneficial impact.

    Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said the fan-led review "must be a watershed moment in our national game".

    Tracey Crouch MP will chair the review and report its recommendations back to the government and Football Association.

    She said it will "take the necessary steps to retain the game's integrity, competitiveness and, most importantly, the bond that clubs have with its supporters and the local community".

    Recent events – which saw six Premier League clubs sign up and later withdraw from a new European Super League – prompted fans to air frustrations over the power owners have in taking big decisions at clubs.

    The review will consider ownership models including those used in Germany, where the 50+1 rule means clubs cannot play in the Bundesliga if one commercial investor owns more than a 49% stake.

    The Bundesliga says the rule "protects against reckless owners and safeguards the democratic customs of German clubs".external-link

    "While foreign ownership has undoubtedly benefited the development of the game, the review will seek to test whether existing oversight is sufficient to protect the interests of the game," the UK government said.

    What else will be considered?

    Red Issue TwitterFans protested at Manchester United's training ground on Thursday and held a '51%' banner

    In addition, the review hopes to scrutinise the Owners' and Directors' Tests currently in place, assess the flow of money through the English football pyramid, and consider if club finances could be scrutinised on a more regular basis.

    In the wake of news breaking on the decision by Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal to join a European Super League, former England defender Gary Neville said he felt the game needed an independent regulator.

    The fan-led review will assess how this could work and what relationship it could have with bodies – such as the Football Association – in the game.

    Time will also be spent considering possible interventions that could protect club identity, such as historical features like club badges.

    'Intervention inevitable' – Brighton CEO

    "We will do whatever it takes to protect our national game" – Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

    All six clubs intent on a breakaway reversed their decision on Tuesday but many in the game have been left frustrated by their actions.

    Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said there was anger among the 14 other Premier League clubs when they met this week and he expects "more government intervention" as a result of the controversy.

    "First, we have asked the PL and FA to make sure they conduct a full investigation," Barber told BT Sport.

    "The second step must be to ensure it can't happen again.

    "Clearly the one thing we are very clear on is when we work in football, we work within the regulatory framework. We know there are rules we have to abide by and if these rules are breached there will be sanctions. In this situation, where the game has been damaged – this has been a PR catastrophe for the whole game – there have to be some consequences for that.

    "The actions of the last 72 hours proves our framework has not been strong enough. There are so many people concerned by what could happen, we need more stringent control and clear sanctions for what would happen if anyone tried it again. The consequences could have been catastrophic."

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    1135 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • A

      Comment posted by aqua94, at 22:54 22 Apr

      One thing thaf is unfortunately getting overlooked is that in 2024, uefa’s new format will allow clubs like United (who I support) to qualify for the champions league even if they finish outside the top 4 based on the coefficient. Uefa needs more scrutiny too.4603

      • Z

        Reply posted by ziggee, at 23:02 22 Apr

        "One thing thaf is unfortunately getting overlooked is that in 2024, uefa’s new format will allow clubs like United (who I support) to qualify for the champions league even if they finish outside the top 4 based on the coefficient. Uefa needs more scrutiny too."ziggee replied: I’m glad to see Uefa are now so keen to put the game before money.
        So perhaps they could have another look at the Europa League.
        Because it’s not great sport if no ones very keen to be in it.
        Surely a knock out tourno based on our FA cup would have more entertainment value (&4 less games)
        The smaller teams playing off against each other and then the survivors in the hat making up a round of 64.13112

      More replies (45)

    • P

      Comment posted by pistol, at 22:47 22 Apr

      I would love the idea of 51% fan ownership, far too much money is drained out for Football through wages, agents and owners and it is fans who are priced out of watching their clubs they have supported for years, and being loyal they will never stop supporting them.21610

      • W

        Reply posted by W H Oami, at 22:51 22 Apr

        "I would love the idea of 51% fan ownership, far too much money is drained out for Football through wages, agents and owners and it is fans who are priced out of watching their clubs they have supported for years, and being loyal they will never stop supporting them."W H Oami replied: Revert to winners only of national league & cup final qualifying for bi-annual European Cup & Cup Winners Cup during years of UEFA European & FIFA World international competition

        For other yrs, bi-annual Champions REAL league of BEST 36 or LESS teams of Europe. Qualification akin to current system. Midweek games with extension into summer like UEFA European & FIFA World international competition1870

      More replies (41)

    • S

      Comment posted by shed upper yaface, at 23:43 22 Apr

      Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos offered Roman Abramovich about 1.5bn to buy Chelsea in I think 2019 and he was turned down because apparently Abramovich wanted 3bn
      The Glazers value Man United at c4bn
      Therefore you are going to need an awful lot of supporters with very deep pockets if you want to buy any of the so called top 6 clubs1436

      • A

        Reply posted by ajm6730, today at 00:44

        "Jim Ratcliffe of Ineos offered Roman Abramovich about 1.5bn to buy Chelsea in I think 2019 and he was turned down because apparently Abramovich wanted 3bnThe Glazers value Man United at c4bnTherefore you are going to need an awful lot of supporters with very deep pockets if you want to buy any of the so called top 6 clubs"ajm6730 replied: Change of ownership is nor necessarily needed after the recent debacle, rather regulation of the competitions and probably the governing bodies.4610

      More replies (14)

    • P

      Comment posted by Pete, at 22:45 22 Apr

      Just what we need. Politicians getting involved. Because of course they’re the experts in everything and their motives are never based on their personal agendas first.15540

      • M

        Reply posted by Mark, at 22:48 22 Apr

        "Just what we need. Politicians getting involved. Because of course they’re the experts in everything and their motives are never based on their personal agendas first."Mark replied: As opposed to club owners and agents?11912

      More replies (12)

    • E

      Comment posted by Enjoy Yourself, at 22:57 22 Apr

      Ryan Reynolds will be annoyed if the 50+1 rule comes in. He’s only just bought Wrexham from the supporters (98% agreed to sell it to him).992

      • R

        Reply posted by Railtrack, at 23:26 22 Apr

        "Ryan Reynolds will be annoyed if the 50+1 rule comes in. He’s only just bought Wrexham from the supporters (98% agreed to sell it to him)."Railtrack replied: Well it is only Wrexham!25102

      More replies (15)

    • N

      Comment posted by Nelly, at 23:21 22 Apr

      Perish the thought, but hasn’t the whole ESL saga nicely buried the growing disquiet over those hardly ‘loveable’ guys themselves, UEFA’s new CL, which, in effect is the same thing effectively? While yes, there is no ‘locked in’ membership of the new CL, the number of places in the new league will mean that all the big six will be in it, and, um domestic competitions will still suffer.922

      • A

        Reply posted by ajm6730, today at 00:46

        "Perish the thought, but hasn’t the whole ESL saga nicely buried the growing disquiet over those hardly ‘loveable’ guys themselves, UEFA’s new CL, which, in effect is the same thing effectively? While yes, there is no ‘locked in’ membership of the new CL, the number of places in the new league will mean that all the big six will be in it, and, um domestic competitions will still suffer."ajm6730 replied: Yes, maybe the whole ESL thing was a feint in order to get the CL changes in with as little trouble as possible.482

      More replies (8)

    • S

      Comment posted by Steel Falcon, at 23:06 22 Apr

      Complete waster of time. Reality is “fans” have no say in the running of football clubs. Football is a business and the fans contribution to revenue is modest in comparison to that generated by sponsors and TV deals. Buying a ticket or a replica shirt does not make you entitled to any more than watching a game. Football has been a business for decades and no review will change that.13247

      • T

        Reply posted by The Time Lord, at 23:31 22 Apr

        "Complete waster of time. Reality is “fans” have no say in the running of football clubs. Football is a business and the fans contribution to revenue is modest in comparison to that generated by sponsors and TV deals. Buying a ticket or a replica shirt does not make you entitled to any more than watching a game. Football has been a business for decades and no review will change that."The Time Lord replied: No other business only permits employees to change employer twice a year. This would be illegal.

        If football is a business, make it operate as any other business.

        Players fees would plummet without the protection that it currently benefits from.5714

      More replies (23)

    • A

      Comment posted by albert obalsam, today at 00:04

      It seems a great many fans have only cottoned on to the fact that English football is dominated by clubs with wealth ,since last Sunday . Well folks it’s been like that for half a century ,long before city and Chelsea hit their respective jackpots ?? Can’t wait for next week’s “water is wet” revelation !!783

      • W

        Reply posted by Windy M, today at 08:04

        "It seems a great many fans have only cottoned on to the fact that English football is dominated by clubs with wealth ,since last Sunday . Well folks it’s been like that for half a century ,long before city and Chelsea hit their respective jackpots ?? Can’t wait for next week’s “water is wet” revelation !!"Windy M replied: There’s a slight difference these days though. In the past clubs were ‘big’ because of the successes of that club. Success brought cash. Now, clubs are classed as big as soon as a rich tycoon buys them. Look at Man utd. They hadn’t been successful for years until Ferguson came in and changed the whole club. Slowly building it.215

      More replies (11)

    • Y

      Comment posted by yourblogsarerubbish, at 22:58 22 Apr

      Sadly, most fans would prefer someone rich to buy their club overpriced players rather than to organise themselves into a coherent supporters group and run a club sustainably.746

      • Y

        Reply posted by Your View May Vary, today at 01:58

        "Sadly, most fans would prefer someone rich to buy their club overpriced players rather than to organise themselves into a coherent supporters group and run a club sustainably."Your View May Vary replied: The 51% rule will only work if fans are willing to accept that their team may no longer be able to pay 100M+ for players.
        I personally will happily accept this if it will be better for the overall game in the long run.874

      More replies (9)

    • T

      Comment posted by trumpton, at 23:01 22 Apr

      Clubs are a business, not a charity.

      The government doesn’t get involved in the running of other businesses so why is football different. If they care that much, why don’t they investigate man united being registered in the Cayman Islands, or the lack of tax paid by Amazon etc.

      As for some of these other clubs their business model is based on bankrolling to the PL for the money. Hypocrites.8721

      • N

        Reply posted by naptoon, at 23:05 22 Apr

        "Clubs are a business, not a charity. The government doesn’t get involved in the running of other businesses so why is football different. If they care that much, why don’t they investigate man united being registered in the Cayman Islands, or the lack of tax paid by Amazon etc.As for some of these other clubs their business model is based on bankrolling to the PL for the money. Hypocrites."naptoon replied: erm banking215

      More replies (21)

    • D

      Comment posted by Dom, at 23:17 22 Apr

      For all the (largely justified) accusations of hypocrisy, greed and corruption amongst UEFA, the Premier League, the govt etc., it would be great if people could really get behind the German ownership model. We might not get another chance.6810

      • S

        Reply posted by SteH11, today at 00:26

        "For all the (largely justified) accusations of hypocrisy, greed and corruption amongst UEFA, the Premier League, the govt etc., it would be great if people could really get behind the German ownership model. We might not get another chance."SteH11 replied: Another thing in which Germany is doing better than us…..4320

      More replies (4)

    • P

      Comment posted by PJB, at 23:02 22 Apr

      Fan ownership is good in principle, but the main objective has to be much stricter use of “fit and proper” and to ensure that immovable barriers are set up to maintain OPEN COMPETITION AT ALL LEVELS.

      And Glazers, FSG and Kroenke need to be banished from our football IMMEDIATELY if necessary by legal means (Johnson).

      American closed shop league “competitions” are not acceptable here,.609

      • B

        Reply posted by Bill Somebody Else, at 23:11 22 Apr

        "Fan ownership is good in principle, but the main objective has to be much stricter use of “fit and proper” and to ensure that immovable barriers are set up to maintain OPEN COMPETITION AT ALL LEVELS.And Glazers, FSG and Kroenke need to be banished from our football IMMEDIATELY if necessary by legal means (Johnson).American closed shop league “competitions” are not acceptable here,."Bill Somebody Else replied: They’re coming.

        Whether you like it or not.1243

      More replies (15)

    • E

      Comment posted by EjukayshunWurks, at 23:17 22 Apr

      This should not be the job of the government, it should be the FA. But that’s the problem with the FA. They should be custodians of OUR game. But they have instead become nothing more than agents for the clubs & their owners. They now represent the clubs. Not us, the fans.

      Yes change the structure of club ownership. But also overall the structure of The FA.

      Give us our game back.527

      • P

        Reply posted by plasticbadger, at 23:20 22 Apr

        "This should not be the job of the government, it should be the FA. But that’s the problem with the FA. They should be custodians of OUR game. But they have instead become nothing more than agents for the clubs & their owners. They now represent the clubs. Not us, the fans.Yes change the structure of club ownership. But also overall the structure of The FA.Give us our game back."plasticbadger replied: FA has no power it ended when the Premier League got set up. There was similar uproar then but everyone got over it.351

      More replies (9)

    • A

      Comment posted by al, at 23:16 22 Apr

      Nae chance of happening, just the Tory’s trying to be popular.7032

      • G

        Reply posted by gary s, at 23:18 22 Apr

        "Nae chance of happening, just the Tory’s trying to be popular."gary s replied: No it’s not, its just an idea1020

      More replies (3)

    • C

      Comment posted by charlieboy, at 23:36 22 Apr

      An obvious point is, why would fans with no business acumen or experience or expertise be any better than running a football club? You cannot manage anything based on emotion. It would be all knee jerk decisions. You only have to listen to Talksport or 606 to find that out.376

      • O

        Reply posted by ooozzzelll, today at 00:04

        "An obvious point is, why would fans with no business acumen or experience or expertise be any better than running a football club? You cannot manage anything based on emotion. It would be all knee jerk decisions. You only have to listen to Talksport or 606 to find that out."ooozzzelll replied: I understand your point, and agree to some extent. But the real problem here is clubs being owned simply as businesses or playthings by people with no real connection to the club.
        A regulated fan ownership model, at least can help protect against the hijacking of their clubs.185

      More replies (6)

    • G

      Comment posted by Gandalf, at 23:12 22 Apr

      We’ll have to wait and see what this brings. Personally I’m not sure I trust that politicians getting involved in football will make anything better.

      For one thing, fan ownership is a nice idea but how is it going to work in practice? The top five or so PL clubs in terms of financial value are worth something like £4bn each. How do fans buy out 51% of that value?314

      • M

        Reply posted by McMurphy1, at 23:19 22 Apr

        "We’ll have to wait and see what this brings. Personally I’m not sure I trust that politicians getting involved in football will make anything better.For one thing, fan ownership is a nice idea but how is it going to work in practice? The top five or so PL clubs in terms of financial value are worth something like £4bn each. How do fans buy out 51% of that value?"McMurphy1 replied: Fans wouldn’t. No single commercial investor could have a controlling stake in a club (51%)

        Doesn’t mean the rest of the shares wouldn’t be owner by other investors.83

      More replies (8)

    • S

      Comment posted by sballandson, at 23:27 22 Apr

      Sorry but you have not got a chance. There is far too much money involved to allow the great unwashed any significant involvement.293

      • I

        Reply posted by Ian M, today at 06:58

        "Sorry but you have not got a chance. There is far too much money involved to allow the great unwashed any significant involvement."Ian M replied: Agreed, sadly.
        For example, how would a cooperative of Man City fans raise approximately £2bn to buy half the club?141

      More replies (1)

    • Y

      Comment posted by Yellow peril , today at 00:27

      Aberdeen Used to beat Madrid in Finals Hamburg in Super Cups and take 6 points from the Old Firm regularly. Thatvwas before Sky and the likes . Of the Premier League….. Chelsea fans protesting the Super League Whilst enjoying outspending the competition with the Russian Billionaire is so Hypocritical275

      • G

        Reply posted by Glozboy, today at 08:56

        "Aberdeen Used to beat Madrid in Finals Hamburg in Super Cups and take 6 points from the Old Firm regularly. Thatvwas before Sky and the likes . Of the Premier League….. Chelsea fans protesting the Super League Whilst enjoying outspending the competition with the Russian Billionaire is so Hypocritical"Glozboy replied: Did you ever consider that not every Chelsea fan is comfortable with the big spending and would welcome 50+1 ownership?73

      More replies (1)

    • C

      Comment posted by Colin The Truth, at 23:41 22 Apr

      UEFA’s response to the greedy oligarchs trying to steal football is to…. give greedy oligarchs more money. Time to strip 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place teams from the Champions League.181

      • H

        Reply posted by head dromedary, today at 08:53

        "UEFA’s response to the greedy oligarchs trying to steal football is to…. give greedy oligarchs more money. Time to strip 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place teams from the Champions League."head dromedary replied: Exactly how would that help?
        With all that’s going on in the world, this is what people care about enough to take to the streets? It’s just depressing.50

      More replies (1)

    • L

      Comment posted by lawman, at 22:55 22 Apr

      To much political interest in football.
      It’s all just for political gain..
      Wish the politicians would stick to politics in their dated chamber.3220

      • B

        Reply posted by Brass Eye, at 23:33 22 Apr

        "To much political interest in football. It’s all just for political gain..Wish the politicians would stick to politics in their dated chamber."Brass Eye replied: Reminds me of the Scene from Blazing Saddles, We’ve gotta protect our phony baloney jobs !

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTmfwklFM-M53

      More replies (2)

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