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BST petition for an independent regulator for English football

This is a story from the SD archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust have created a Westminster petition. The petition calls for the government to introduce an independent regulator for English football.

The following statement is from the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust.

Blackpool Supporters Trust (BST) has been lobbying the English Football League (EFL) over a long period about the conduct of the Oyston family, who are current owners of Blackpool Football Club. BST has pointed to a litany of mismanagement including the systematic removal of funding from the football club and, latterly, the Oyston’s appetite for litigation against supporters who criticise them in public. The English Football League (EFL) has constantly failed to act, arguing that the matters of concern raised lay beyond their powers to do so. Recent lobbying by BST has been met with platitudes and excuses.

On 6 November 2017, the High Court found in favour of Mr Valeri Belokon, a minority shareholder in the club, who successfully argued that he had suffered prejudice at the hands of the Oystons during their business relationship.

In a damning judgement, Judge Marcus Smith condemned the Oystons as unreliable witnesses who had removed over £26 million from the club for non-footballing purposes after its one year in the Premier League in 2010-11.

Blackpool FC has become a by-word in the football community for mismanagement and crisis, and yet after a period several years, nothing has been done. The EFL shows no sign that it understands what its leadership role in this area should be, and as it clearly can’t – or won’t – rise to the challenge, then we feel that the Government must step in to lead the process of fundamental reform that is clearly needed.

Blackpool is not the only club in such circumstances. Other ‘crisis’ clubs include AFC Wimbledon, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Cardiff City, Charlton Athletic, Coventry City, Fulham, Leyton Orient, Leeds United.

Football clubs are too precious, and too much a part of the fabric of our national life, to be left to the mercy of unregulated and often unscrupulous ownership. They need the protection of a robust regulatory framework that offers a range of sanctions against wrongdoers, mechanisms that allow problems to be confronted before they become deep-rooted and a governing body that has the desire to use it.

The petition went live on Thursday 22nd February and will run for six months to 22nd August 2018.

– If you think that the Government should take ownership of this issue away from the EFL

and

– If you think the Government should begin a process of complete regulatory overhaul

then please sign and share this link as widely as possible to help us reach our target of 100,000 signatures to trigger parliamentary action.

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