Iron Trust joins SD lobbying Parliament
A representative of the Iron Trust visited Parliament this week as a number of politicians backed calls for immediate changes to the way football is governed.
Last month the select committee of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport criticised governing bodies for their reluctance to implement a host of changes that they reccomended a year ago following their report into football.
Supporters Direct called for the immediate implementation of two of the suggestions made by the committee, which do not require legislation.
- That the football authorities need to include a rule as part of the new football club licensing arrangements that guarantees a Structured Relationship between supporters and clubs; and
- That DCMS needs to establish the Government Expert Group before the beginning of next season (2013/2014) to explore methods of removing barriers to increased collective supporter share ownership in their football clubs.
Speakers at the lobbying event included the Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee chairman John Whittingdale, Lib Dem sports spokesman John Leech, Labour Sports Shadow Minister Cliff Effort and the Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt.
Effort backed proposals to ensure football stadiums are protected under the Localism Act, calling for trusts are involved in a statutory consultation anytime a ground is put up for sale.
Supporters Direct also launched a report highlighting the value of ground ownership to a football club.
“This was the first time the Trust has been represented officially at a Supporters Direct event, and it was great to see so many MPs backing issues that are close to the hearts of fans,” said Trust interim board member Luke Thornhill, who attended the event.
“It was pleasing to hear the Shadow Sports Minister suggest groups like us should be legislatory consultees on any sale of a football ground. Given the M&S development right next to Glanford Park, many members have expressed concerns about safeguarding the future of the ground.
“Overall it was really encouraging to see such cross-party support for supporter involvement, we believe developing a structured relationship with Scunthorpe United can only benefit all parties and lead to better fan engagement.”
The Thatcher Room at Portcullis House was packed with almost 70 MPs as well as trust representatives, with many MPs having to stand at the back in order to hear the speeches. Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin’s role as a government whip meant he was unable to attend.
“There’s no clearer message that we can deliver from Supporters Direct, supporters trusts, and Parliament than: ‘the time has come to stop talking and start delivering’,” said David Lampitt, chief executive of Supporters Direct.