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What do the party manifestos mean for fans?

The Football Supporters’ Association’s Fans’ Manifesto was launched a few weeks ago and encouraged political parties to help make football better – you can read the Fans’ Manifesto here.

Of course football fans come from all corners of society, and people all have different political views, but we thought it would be helpful to our members to showcase what the major political parties are saying in relation to football matters.

We focused on the areas most likely to engage political parties – grassroots, standing, transport, governance, and equality. What do the parties say in these key areas?

  • Grassroots – Labour says that it will regulate to “ensure that a proportion of the Premier League’s television rights income is spent on grassroots football facilities.”
  • Standing – The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all commit towards the introduction of “safe standing”.
  • Transport – Various pledges relating to transport by all parties but no mention of flexible football-specific rail tickets which both the Conservatives and Labour have previously backed.
  • Governance – Both the Conservatives and Labour have proposals to tackle the football governance problems that we have seen in recent seasons. You can see more detail on that below.
  • Equality – The Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru all commit to tackling discrimination, with the Liberal Democrats explicitly committing to “support anti-racism and anti-homophobia campaigns in sport”. There’s more detail on their distinct approaches in each manifesto.

You can find out more about each party’s manifesto below and it’s worth noting that we don’t cover Northern Ireland or Scotland, so we haven’t looked at what parties in those countries are offering supporters.

Manifestos (in alphabetical order):

Brexit Party

  • The Brexit Party say that “the old mainstream parties have made ‘manifesto’ a dirty word” and refer to their pledges as a “contract with the people”. There are no pledges which relate specifically to football or sport.
  • Download the Brexit Party’s Contract With The People.

Conservative Party

  • “Community ownership. We will establish a £150 million Community Ownership Fund to encourage local takeovers of civic organisations or community assets that are under threat – local football clubs, but also pubs or post offices. We will set up a fan-led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners and Directors Test, and will work with fans and clubs towards introducing safe standing. And we will help communities that want to create ‘pocket parks’ and regenerate derelict areas.”
  • Download the Conservative Party’s manifesto here.

Green Party

  • There are no pledges which relate specifically to football.
  • Download the Green Party manifesto here.

Labour Party

  • “In football, the professional game has become divided between the extremes of the very rich and the very poor with clubs in Bury and Bolton facing collapse. A Labour government will examine the state of the game, its governance and regulation, its ownership rules and the support and funding of the clubs that are vital to local communities. We will review the ‘fit and proper person test’ for club owners and directors and ensure that supporters’ trusts have a proper role so that the professional game is properly run for all its fans and all its clubs.”
  • “A Labour government will legislate for accredited football supporters’ trusts to be able to appoint and remove at least two club directors and purchase shares when clubs change hands. We will regulate safe standing in stadiums and ensure that a proportion of the Premier League’s television rights income is spent on grassroots football facilities.”
  • Download the Labour Party’s manifesto here.

Liberal Democrats

  • “Move towards introducing ‘safe standing’ at football clubs, requiring the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to prepare guidance for implementing this change.”
  • “Protect sports and arts funding via the National Lottery.”
  • Read the Liberal Democrat manifesto here.

Plaid Cymru

  • “Plaid Cymru will place art, culture and language together with sport – all vitally important parts of our social tradition and way of life – at the heart of all our policies, from local government finance, through to health and education and our European policies.”
  • Download the Plaid Cymru manifesto here.

The FSA’s remit is very wide and The Fans’ Manifesto has a specific focus on areas which we believe will engage political parties. If you’d like to read more about all of our work check out our Annual Review.

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