TIME FOR ACTION: Sustain The Game!
Posted on 16th September 2020
Sustain The Game! is the FSA’s campaign to persuade the football authorities to take measures to protect the existence of our clubs – and it’s more important than ever with so many under threat because of the financial strains caused by COVID-19.
The campaign has already secured the backing of hundreds of our affiliated supporters’ groups, football clubs, pundits, and politicians.
What can I do?
Back in 2019 the Conservative Party manifesto committed them to a “fan led review” of football governance and the current pandemic has reinforced the urgency of that. The review must cover all aspects of Sustain The Game!
Sustain The Game! already has cross-party support and we want fans to ask their MPs to contact sports minister Nigel Huddleston and encourage him to progress the review now.
“Template” emails are more easily ignored by MPs than personal messages of support for a campaign so we’d encourage you to craft your own message but we have provided some guidance…
Actions for fans:
- Download this Word document where we have already added the core Sustain The Game! messages but left space around that so that you can add your own personal thoughts and experiences.
- Visit members.parliament.uk and enter your post code – you’ll then see your MP’s email address and you’ll be able to send them your message.
- Let us know their response – if it’s positive we’ll add them to the list of supporters.
Cross-party political support:
Alison McGovern MP (Labour), shadow sports minister: “COVID-19 has magnified what we have known for a long time: football needs better transparency and governance. We must work together to make sure no town loses a much-loved club due to issues that could be reformed. Labour is proud to support the FSA’s Sustain the Game! campaign. Let’s make sure football really delivers for fans.”
Damian Collins MP (Conservatives), forrmer chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters: “Football clubs are at the heart of our communities, yet the people who support them feel powerless when they get into financial difficulties, and discover the authorities are unable to positively intervene. The football authorities have allowed clubs to overspend, let bad owners asset strip them, and failed to make sure that would-be directors always pass the fit and proper person test. This needs to change. We need reform to make football finances more sustainable and create proper oversight of how clubs are run.”
Jamie Stone MP (Liberal Democrats), Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: “Football fans are the beating heart of communities across the United Kingdom. They need to be at the front and centre of every decision about the future of the game. Sustain the Game! asked the UK Government to follow through on their pledge to launch an independent fan-led review of the sport. I will be doing everything in my power to make sure they deliver on that pledge and respect the contribution that football makes to the health and happiness of this country.”
Jo Stevens MP (Labour), shadow secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: “Like other challenges in our country, the coronavirus pandemic has magnified the long-term challenges for football. Sustain the Game! calls for what Labour has long campaigned for – seeing clubs run in the interests of the supporters and communities they serve and we are happy to support it.”
Ian Mearns MP (Labour), chair of the APPG for Football Supporters: “Fans are often left out of the conversations that affect the clubs they love. Too often the governing authorities and some club owners see supporters as an income stream, rather than the lifeblood that keeps clubs afloat even during the most difficult times. Clubs are not only businesses, they are the heart of our communities, and I’m delighted to support the Sustain The Game! campaign. Covid-19 may prove a turning point for football across the UK, and it is now more than ever that we need an overhaul of the way football is governed. Fans should know that the custodians of their club are behaving responsibly and reforms must ensure that clubs cannot be torn apart by reckless owners.”
Tracey Crouch MP (Conservatives), former sports minister: “Sustain The Game! is about making sure that people understand the importance of football clubs in their community – and we’re not just talking about Premier League clubs, we’re talking about the whole pyramid. Non-league is just as important in our communities and we’ve seen non-league clubs like Chatham Town doing their bit during the pandemic. Once you recognise that importance you realise why fans want financial transparency because we’ve seen too many clubs suddenly disappear or go bust.”