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Sustain The Game!

Supporters’ groups from across the country have joined forces with politicians and pundits to launch “Sustain The Game!” – a new campaign which calls for urgent action from the authorities to protect the existence of clubs throughout the game.

The financial strains caused by Covid-19 have threatened many clubs and fans say urgent action is needed from the football authorities to help them survive.

The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) is coordinating Sustain The Game! and says that while the current pandemic has brought many issues to an immediate head, these are long standing finance and governance matters which need to be fixed.

The Government’s 2019 manifesto committed to a “fan led” review of football governance and the FSA says it wants to demonstrate the support within football for that to happen.

The campaign is backed by fans’ organisations from almost all of the 92 Premier League and EFL clubs alongside those in the women’s game, non-league and high profile ex-pros and pundits such as Jamie Carragher, Henry Winter, Colin Murray, Amy Lawrence, Guy Mowbray, and FSA Commentator of the Year Peter Drury.

Political support comes in the shape of ex-sports minister Tracey Crouch, Labour’s shadow sports minister Alison McGovern and Liberal Democrats’ Daisy Cooper MP, the party’s sports spokesperson.

The campaign is also backed by the cross-party All-Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters and many community-owned clubs including the newly-formed Bury AFC.

Campaign backers say the football authorities and government cannot sit back and watch as dozens of historic clubs are under immediate threat and could disappear altogether. 

FSA chief executive Kevin Miles said:

“Football occupies a special space in our society as clubs carry huge cultural and local economic importance. Sustain The Game! will demonstrate the need for urgent action as the very existence of many clubs is under threat. If we don’t act now we might lose some forever.

“We call on everyone with an interest in the game, from clubs and leagues to players and managers, to come together and work in partnership to support Sustain The Game! The time for action isn’t next week, next month, or next year – it’s now.”

Ex-Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher said:

“The FSA’s Sustain The Game! campaign can play a massive role in protecting clubs throughout the game. This is a difficult time for the game but it’s also a chance to make real changes. Supporters’ have to be involved in that as well.”

Sustain The Game! is built around five key principles and aims to protect clubs, increase transparency, implement strong independent financial controls, strengthen the football pyramid, and increase supporter engagement. 

Sustain The Game! principles:

  1. Protect our clubs – football clubs are community assets and an important expression of individual and local identity, they deserve legal protection and urgent support to secure their future;
  2. Transparency – everyone has a right to know who owns their club, and how clubs and the authorities operate. Owners are custodians of clubs on behalf of all of us;
  3. Financial controls – fans want rules with real teeth which are independently enforced, clubs and leagues can’t be left to regulate themselves;
  4. Strengthen the pyramid – football as a whole is wealthy, but we need a smarter and fairer use of the money in the game to encourage sustainability;
  5. Supporter engagement – fans are the lifeblood of the game, they need a voice in their clubs and on all issues that affect them and their communities.

Further reading: The FSA has made a series of proposals to the FA including a new Code of Practice on the Stewardship of Football Clubs which sets out guidance for clubs and owners on a range of issues which have caused problems – name changes, playing colours and badges, stadium location, training facilities, failure to honour wages, and tax commitments. The code would also stop owners loading debt onto a club in order to finance its purchase. The proposals have the support of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters. You can download the paper in full here.

Supporters

Are you a fans’ group, club, pundit or politician? We want to tell you more about the campaign and gain your support. Email: info@thefsa.org.uk

Supporters’ organisationsClubsPoliticians and pundits
1894 Group (Manchester City)1876 BangorAlex-Davies Jones MP AS
A Love Supreme (Sunderland)Accrington StanleyAlison McGovern MP (Shadow sports minister) & Labour Party
AccessiBluesAFC Rushden & DiamondsAll-Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters
Albion RoarAltrinchamAmy Lawrence (The Guardian)
Albion Women Supporter GroupBury AFCAndrew Simpson (journalist)
AMS Group (Millwall)Camden & Islington UnitedAndy Holt (Owner – Accrington Stanley)
Apna AlbionCheltenham TownAnwar Uddin ((Ex-footballer and coordinator for Fans For Diversity)
Argyle Fans’ TrustClapton CFCAssociation Nationale des Supporters
Arsenal Independent Supporters’ AssociationDarlingtonBaroness Taylor of Bolton
Arsenal Supporters’ TrustDoncaster RoversBrian Reade (Daily Mirror)
Aston Villa Disabled Supporters’ AssociationEnfield TownCaroline Barker (Journalist and National League board member)
Aston Villa Supporters’ TrustExeter CityColin Murray (Journalist and presenter)
Aston Villa Women Supporters’ ClubFC United of ManchesterDaisy Cooper MP (Liberal Democrats)
Barmy Army (Manchester United Women)FisherDamian Collins MP (Former chair of the CMS Select Committee)
Barnsley Supporters’ TrustFrickley AthleticDan Parnell (Senior Lecturer in Sport Business, University of Liverpool)
Bees United (Brentford)Gornal AthleticDavid Goldblatt (Football author)
Beesotted (Brentford)Grays AthleticFootball Collective
Billericay Town Supporters’ SocietyGrimsby TownFootball Supporters Europe
Birmingham City Women Supporters’ GroupHendonGary Bennett (Pundit & Show Racism The Red Card ambassador)
Blackburn Rovers Supporters’ TrustHinckley AFCGuy Mowbray (Commentator)
Blackpool Supporters’ TrustLewesHawksbee and Jacobs (Presenters)
Blue Action (Ipswich Town)Litherland REMYCAHenry Winter (The Times)
Blue Union (Everton)Merthyr TownIan Herbert (Journalist)
Bluebirds Trust (Barrow AFC)Pilkington St HelensIan Mearns MP (Chair of the APPG for Football Supporters
Blues Trust (Birmingham City)PortsmouthJamie Carragher (Ex-Liverpool and England international)
Bolton Wanderers Supporters’ TrustScarborough AFCJamie Stone MP (Liberal Democrats sports spokesperson)
Boro Supporters Club 2020 (Middlesborough)Tranmere RoversJen O’Neill (She Kicks)
Bradford City Supporters’ TrustWorcester CityJo Stevens MP (Labour Party)
Brakes Trust (Leamington FC)WrexhamKieran Maguire (Academic, author and broadcaster)
Brentford Independent Supporters’ AssociationWythenshawe AmateursLord Oates (Liberal Democrats)
Bristol City Supporters’ TrustMartin Tyler (Commentator)
Bristol City Women Supporters’ ClubMatt Scott (Investigative sports journalist)
Bristol Rovers Supporters’ ClubMatt Slater (The Athletic)
Bromsgrove Sporting Supporters’ TrustMax Rushden (Guardian Football Weekly host)
Burnley FC Supporters GroupsMike Amesbury MP
Burton Albion Supporters FCNizaar Kinsella (Goal.com)
Cambridge Fans UnitedPete Milward (Professor, Liverpool John Moores University)
Cambridge Fans UnitedPeter Drury (Commentator)
Cambridge United Official Supporters’ ClubRosie Cooper MP (Labour Party)
Canaries TrustSam Al-Hamdani (Oldham BC)
Cardiff City Disabled Supporters’ AssociationScott Benton MP
Cardiff City Supporters’ TrustScott Benton MP (Conservative Party)
Carlisle United Official Supporters’ ClubSupporters Direct Europe
Chairboys on the net (Wycombe Wanderers)Tracey Crouch MP (Former sports minister)
Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust
Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
Chelsea Womens Supporters’ Group
Cherries Trust (AFC Bournemouth)
Chorley FC Supporters’ Trust
Clarets Trust
Cockney Latic
Colchester United Supporters Association
Crawley Town Supporters’ Trust
Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust
Dale Trust
Darlington FC Supporters’ Group
Desi Dons
Dial M For Merthyr
Dons Trust (AFC Wimbledon)
DUCK magazine (Stoke City)
Everton Women Supporters’ Club
Exeter City Supporters’ Trust
Fans for Foodbanks (Huddersfield)
Five Year Plan
Fly Me To The Moon (Middlesborough)
Forces2Canaries
Foxes Trust
From the Finney (PNE)
FSA Cymru
Fulham Supporters’ Trust
Gillingham Independent Supporters’ Club
Hammers United
Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust
Hendon FC Supporters Trust
Hereford United Supporters’ Trust
Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association
Hull City Supporters’ Trust
Ipswich Town Firsts
Iron Trust
Kevin Beattie Foundation
Lady Imps Supporters’ Association
Leeds United Supporters’ Trust
Leicester City Disability Supporters’ Association
Leicester City Supporters Club
Lewes Supporters’ Trust
Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust
LGBT Bees (Brentford)
Lion Roar (Millwall)
Livepool Women Supporters’ Club
Liverpool DSA
London Bees Endor
Love Football Hate Racism
Luton Town Supporters’ Trust
Manchester City Official Supporters’ Club
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust
Mariners Trust
MCWFC Official Supporters’ Club
Millwall Past & Present
Millwall Supporters’ Club
My Old Man Said (Aston Villa)
Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust
Non-League Programmes
Northhampton Town Supporters’ Trust
Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Trust
OASST (Accrington Stanley Supporters’ Trust)
Ox Vox Supporters’ Trust
Pompey Disabled Supporters’ Association
Pompey Independent Supporters’ Association
Pompey Supporters’ Trust
Port Vale Supporter Club
Portsmouth Supporters’ Club (Central Branch)
Posh Trust
Proud Lilywhites (Spurs)
Proud Salopians (Shrewsbury Town)
Proud Valients (Charlton Athletic)
Proudsville Clarets (Burnley)
Push The Boundary (Oldham Athletic)
QPR1st Supporters’ Trust
Railwaymen Supporters’ Trust (Crewe Alex)
Rainbow Blades (Sheffield United)
Rams Trust (Derby County)
Red And White Army (Sunderland)
Robins Trust (Cheltenham Town)
Rover and Out (Tranmere Rovers)
SAFCSA (Coxhoe Branch)
Sheffield United Supporters’ Club
Sheffield Wednesday Supporters’ Trust
Shrimpers Trust
Shrimps Trust
Silkmen Supporters Trust (Macclesfield)
Sky Blues Trust (Coventry City)
Spirit of Shankly
Stand up for Town (Huddersfield Town)
Stevenage FC Supporters’ Association
Stoke City Supporters’ Club
Supporters Trust At Reading (STAR)
Swansea City Supporters’ Trust
The Stacey West (Lincoln City)
Torquay Talk
Torquay United Supporters Trust
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust
Tranmere Rovers Supporters’ Trust
Trans Pennine Irons
Trust Oldham
TrustSTFC (Swindon Town)
Twe12thman (Middlesbrough)
Twe12thman (Middlesbrough)
Ugly Inside (Southampton)
Union FS (Leicester City)
Unita 1863
Up the Clarets
View from the Allotment End (North Ferriby)
Vikings Trust (Doncaster Rovers)
Walsall Supporters’ Trust
War of the Monster Trucks (S.Wednesday)
Watford Ladies Fan Group
Watford Supporters’ Trust
West Ham United Women Supporters’ Club
WHU Independent Supporters’ Association
Wigan Athletic Supporters’ Club
Wolves Fans Parliament
Wycombe Wanderers Supporters’ Trust
Yorkshire Gulls (Torquay United)

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe