In a little over four weeks millions of football fans will head out to cast their vote in December’s General Election – and the main political parties will be publishing manifestos including policies which could affect football.
With that in mind the FSA has pulled together some core campaign ideas and asked all the major political parties whether they support The Fans’ Manifesto.
The FSA does not favour one political party over another and football fans come from all walks of society. That means supporters can have wildly different views but we do think every fan should be informed and we aim to help with that. It’s then up to each fan where they put their X.
The Fans’ Manifesto:
Grassroots – Share the wealth
At a time when there is more money in and around football than ever before we should be enjoying a golden age of grassroots football. No local club or school team should have to endure crumbling infrastructure or lack of funds to encourage participation and develop tomorrow’s star players. The FSA wants to see more of the wealth of football – and of those like agents and betting companies who live off it – used to support the base of the game.
Standing – Stand Up for Choice
The existing legislation which aims to stop supporters standing at the game is deeply unpopular and should be scrapped. We believe there are different mixes of stewarding approaches and standing technologies which clubs can use to manage fans standing at football and it should be up to each club, in conjunction with its supporters and the local Safety Advisory Group, to develop appropriate stadium plans based on sound and rigorous risk assessment. The FSA believes clubs and fans should be empowered to work together to decide what mix of standing and seated areas is right for them.
Transport – Flexible football rail tickets
Supporters travel the length and breadth of the country following their club, often at great expense, while working around last-minute changes to games due to TV demands or football schedule clashes. The introduction of an affordable and flexible rail ticket which is tied to a game, rather than a date, could reduce costs for fans and generate new revenue for train operators at times which are often outside peak hours. The Premier League and EFL support this concept: the FSA calls on government to make it happen.
Governance and regulation – Protect our pyramid and heritage
Football is our biggest cultural expression of community identity and no other country exhibits such depth of support for clubs from the top to the bottom of the pyramid, yet this heritage can be at the mercy of unscrupulous and incompetent owners. The football authorities must be required to establish an independent process of regulation for professional clubs with a tougher Owners and Directors Test, increased financial transparency, and a requirement of owners to exercise proper stewardship over clubs, all in close co-operation with supporters’ organisations.
Equality – No to discrimination
A commitment to diversity and inclusion underpins all of the FSA’s activity and we oppose all forms of discrimination or violence in relation to football. To this end, we call for a real engagement and investment in promoting inclusion and combatting discrimination in football. The Football (Offences) Act should be extended so that it is not limited to ‘racialist or indecent chanting’ but includes all protected characteristics from the Equality Act.