Massive turnout at Supporters Direct lobby ends with a call for "action, not talk"
John Whittingdale, Chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, has called for supporters to "keep up the pressure" for reform of football, citing positive noises from government off the back of his committee's report into football governance reform. He was speaking at the lobby of Parliament organised by Supporters Direct today.
He said that there's a "huge strength of feeling" amongst MP's on the issue of reform, reiterating that the clock is ticking for the authorities to implement the changes they've demanded.
The meeting - which nearly 70 MPs attended or were represented in the Thatcher Room and where there was standing room only - was called to lobby for two key areas for immediate action to reform football:
1. That the football authorities need to include a rule as part of the new football club licensing arrangements that guarantees a Structured Relationship between supporters and clubs; and
2. That DCMS needs to establish the Government Expert Group before the beginning of next season (2013/2014) to explore methods of removing barriers to increased collective supporter share ownership in their football clubs.
A succession of speakers including Penny Mordaunt MP, Clive Efford MP, Labour Sports Shadow, and John Leech, spokesman for the Lib Dems on sport, endorsed the proposals, saying there was 'no reason' for the changes not to be introduced now.
Damian Collins MP, who is sponsoring a football transparency bill, also called for transparency in ownership of football clubs, and a shift from the 'primary measure of success in football being how big the tv deal is', pointing out the more balanced and competitive German football model.
Reflecting on the lobby, David Lampitt said,
"There's no clearer message that we can deliver from Supporters Direct, supporters trusts, and Parliament than: 'the time has come to stop talking and start delivering'".