Robins Trust proud to play role in Fan Led Review

— 4 minute read

We are proud to have played our part in helping to shape the Football Supporters Association's evidence to the government's Fan Led Review of football.

This morning, Review chair Tracey Crouch MP wrote to Oliver Dowden, minister for culture media and sport with a series of interim recommendations based on the evidence she has heard in the last two months.

Much of what was recommended formed the backbone of the FSA's evidence to the review, which the Robins Trust played a part in shaping.

Trust chair and FSA National Council member James Young helped to lead the FSA's League One and League Two delegation in presenting to the review in June.

The Trust's FED Dave Beesley joined James in giving evidence, alongside representatives of nine other Trusts and supporters groups at League One and League Two level.

In her letter, Tracey Crouch called for a new independent regulator for football, along with other significant reforms to football's governance.

In her letter, she said: "In order to protect the future key aspects of our national game a new independent regulator for English football (IREF) is needed.

"Football clubs are not ordinary businesses. They play a critical social, civic, and cultural role in their local communities. They need to be protected."

She recommends the establishment of an independent regulator which will oversee a new club licensing system to improve the standard of ownership across the game.

Additionally, the report recommends legislation to make supporter engagement mandatory, wide-ranging reform of existing football authorities, improving equality and diversity in the game.

Providing democratic supporter groups with a 'golden share' in their clubs would provide fans the power of veto over certain issues is another of the key recommendations.

"It is the voice of fans that has been loudest and clearest," Crouch said.

"It is absolutely evident from our sessions that the football authorities have lost the trust and confidence of the fans as have, in a number of cases, clubs themselves."

The reforms would also be coupled with significant changes to the game's financial distribution and how it currently shares wealth from top-to-bottom.

The recommendations would see an end to parachute payments and replace them with more equitable distribution from the Premier League down the pyramid.

The Fan-led Review panel has heard more than 100 hours of oral evidence from fan groups, leagues, the FA, clubs at every level of the pyramid, representatives of players and managers, supporters of the women's game, academics, German supporter groups and many more.

FSA chief executive Kevin Miles, who sits on the Fan-led Review panel said: "It's clear from the preliminary report that not only has the evidence been led by fans but also that those fan voices have been heeded.

"FSA members have played a vital role in this process and we'd like to thank them for their continued effort and support.

"Supporter groups at more than 130 clubs have given evidence and many of the recurring themes are reflected in the preliminary recommendations.

"The commitment to the establishment of a new independent regulator for English football is especially welcome.

"Additional proposals linked to the sustainability of the game, golden shares for fan groups, grassroots investment, mandatory supporter engagement and a strong voice for fans in governance at all levels, are hugely encouraging."

In the coming months, the Fan-led Review will build upon Crouch's recommendations and produce detailed plans for reform ahead of the final report. The Review's final recommendations will be published in October.

Trust chair James Young said: "It was inspiring to play a part in helping the FSA's League One and League Two network submit their evidence to the review.

"Across 48 clubs we agreed a consensus of what evidence we should submit and found powerful examples from nine clubs to accentuate our points.

"At the heart of our evidence was the need for better regulation to help protect our clubs and it's pleasing to see the initial report from Tracey Crouch reflect our view.

"The work we have undertaken together this summer shows the power of supporters working together for the common good of our game and the number one stakeholder in football: the fans.

"Along with others up and down the country, I am looking forward to seeing further progress ahead of the full submission from Tracey Crouch in October."