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Reading fans protest outside Parliament

Reading fans have once again made their views known on owner Dai Yongge – the club has been docked points on multiple occasions for failing to pay player wages and didn’t pay all backroom staff their full November salaries. 

Campaign group Sell Before We Dai are calling on club owner Yongge “to sell up before more damage is done to the club we know and love” – and their recent protest was outside the Houses of Parliament. 

Sell Before We Dai pointed to a list of clubs who are, or have been, in crisis recently – Sheffield Wednesday, Southend United, Oldham Athletic, Scunthorpe United, Morecambe, Derby County, Wigan Athletic, Everton and WBA.

It was the latest in a series of non-violent actions by Reading fans and they made headlines earlier this month with a tennis ball protest during the club’s FA Cup tie with Eastleigh.

Sell Before We Dai: “An Independent Football Regulator is needed now.”

The message was appreciated by fan groups at other clubs with Action for Albion’s Ali Jones telling the i that it “shows the strength of unity in fans that the football community all pulls together in times of crisis.”

The call certainly has the support of fans across the pyramid and legislation is currently making its way through Parliament to that end – it can’t come soon enough.

FSA: At the heart of the political process

The FSA has been at the heart of the political process – we’ve been calling for an independent regulator for years – and we ensured hundreds of supporters’ groups were given the opportunity to take part in the Fan-led Review of Football Governance by giving evidence directly to the panel.

The Fan-led Review (aka the Crouch Review) published a powerful report calling for an independent regulator with oversight on financial sustainability and protection of our historic clubs via a stronger owners’ and directors’ test.

We also called for a better distribution of football’s wealth throughout the pyramid and grassroots football, and called for the women’s game to be given its own dedicated review

The Fan-led Review led directly to the Government’s promise to establish an independent regulator. But what powers will a regulator have and what does the legislation mean?

The legislation will introduce an independent regulator with a “tightly defined scope focused on four areas: financial resources, suitable owners, fan interests and approved competitions.” 

If it passes through the Parliamentary process it means:

  1. A strengthened owners’ and directors’ test to protect clubs and their fans from “careless owners”.
  2. Giving fans a greater say in the running of their clubs with new supporter engagement models.
  3. Enabling the regulator to block clubs from joining breakaway leagues, such as a European Super League.
  4. Giving the regulator “fall-back powers over financial redistribution”.

Read more: “A sustainable future – reforming club football governance: consultation response”

This can’t come soon enough to save Reading and other clubs in crisis.

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