Fans Zone – Lobby Your MP
On Thursday the article below by Trust Board member Jan Mokrzycki appeared in the Coventry Telegraph and followed on from his appearance on 5 Live the previous Sunday on the topic of football governance and how it was letting English football down and Coventry City fans in particular.
The thrust of the article is a suggestion that you lobby your MP and express your concerns about the way football is being run. On 28th February, Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, will present an important Private Member's Bill on Football Governance for debate in the House of Commons. It's important because the debate could be a step towards reforming clubs' relationships with supporters, and changing the FA and the Football League to make them more accountable.
If you feel that the Football League needs reforming and believe that if they hadn't been so spineless when SISU took our club to Northampton, we might not now be in the mess we are in then write that letter or e-mail your MP.
It's very important that Mr Collins gets as much support as possible, so that his Bill moves to the next stage. February 28 will be its second reading and we need as many MPs as possible to attend and vote for the Bill.
More than a year ago the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee said that Government should legislate to reform the football governing bodies if they wouldn't do it themselves. Nothing has happened since. So we need to get our MPs to urge the Select Committee to put pressure on the Government to legislate.
We have been asked by some members how they can find contact details of their respective MP's and we recommend the following website: https://www.writetothem.com/
It's best if you write a letter in your own words, but here are the important points you could include:
* The Football League has allowed the situation at Coventry City to escalate by not taking any action to keep the club in Coventry.
* The Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, chaired by John Whittingdale MP, made proposals for reform of football governance over a year ago, and said that if football would not reform itself, the Government should legislate to do so.
* Last week the Government Committee on Mutuals presented its own report on football governance and reached much the same conclusions. They said that engaging fans in the running and ownership of the clubs is vital for the future of the game.
* On 28th February Damian Collins MP presents the second reading of his private members bill designed to reform football governance and make it more transparent and accountable.
* Ask your MP to urge the DCMS Select Committee to put pressure on government to legislate, and to support Damian Collins' bill.
When you write, remember that MPs don't have a lot of time, so a short letter stands a better chance of being read than a long one; and please don't be abusive - it's likely to have the opposite effect to the one we all want!
If you really have difficulty in putting together a letter, we've written one you could copy and amend.
Example Of Letter
Dear [insert your MP’s name]
I am a Coventry City supporter and I am concerned by the way our national game is being run. The tragic situation at Coventry City is well known and had the football authorities taken their responsibilities properly they would never have allowed the situation to escalate. They need reforming and the first step is to look at the whole of football governance.
Last year the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, chaired by John Whittingdale MP, said that if football could not reform itself within 12 months then government should introduce legislation as soon as practically possible. 12 months have passed and there has been no significant change.
Last week the Government Committee on Mutuals presented its own report on football governance and reached much the same conclusions. They said that engaging fans in the running and ownership of the clubs is vital for the future of the game.
On 28th February Damian Collins – MP for Folkestone and Hythe – presents the second reading of his private members bill. This is designed to reform football governance and make it more transparent and accountable. As a member of your constituency I urge you to support this bill in its attempt to save football from the vain and the greedy and return it to the true supporters.
Please ask that the DCMS Select Committee puts pressure on the government for change and please support Damian Collins' bill.
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In past years football clubs in this country were usually owned by wealthy local individuals, people who had done well for themselves and wanted to put something back into the community. These people were local and usually unknown to anyone except that clubs fans. Since the influx of billions of pounds of TV money and the worldwide coverage of English football the ownership model has changed significantly and we now we have two additional types of owner – the vanity project of people like Abramovitch at Chelsea or Sheik Mansour at Man City and, more worryingly for many, those that think they can make money out of football like the Glazers at Man Utd, Venkys at Blackburn and SISU at Coventry. The danger of the vanity project is simply that should the billionaire benefactor get bored and walk away the club is ruined whilst the investment model is flawed simply because, although the money in the Premiership is vast, outside of that there is hardly a club making any money whatsoever.
The governance of football has been discussed for many years but in the past few it has got serious with Government getting involved. In 2011 the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee into football governance chaired by John Whittingdale MP for Maldon reported “The government has said it will encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters and there is widespread concern that the current governance arrangements are not fit for purpose.”
In January 2013 this committee stated “While some progress has been achieved much greater reform is needed. Proposals (from FA, FL and PL) simply don’t address fundamental problems including the way supporters are engaged at club level and membership of the Main Board which is not fully representative or able to balance interests adequately.” They then went on to say that if football cannot reform itself within 12 months then the government should introduce legislation as soon as practically possible. 12 months have passed and there have been no significant changes.
Last week the Government Committee on Mutuals presented its own report on football governance and basically reached the same conclusions. They said that the football authorities are refusing to change, to acknowledge the fans needs. Engaging with fans in the running and ownership of the clubs is vital for the future of the game.
On 28th Feb Damian Collins – MP for Folkestone and Hythe – presents the second reading of his private members bill to parliament about football governance. This bill is designed to reform football governance and make it more transparent and accountable – to ensure fair financial dealings between professional football clubs and their supporters.
This is all well and good but what does it mean to us Coventry fans? Our team is playing 35 miles away from its home city with little prospect of a return – we have been let down by the owners, by the local authority and, significantly, by the football authorities. The Football League bent every one of their own rules to allow this ridiculous situation to happen and they have let every Coventry fan down and we need to show our displeasure.
City supporters are showing their opposition to this move with thousands simply not attending matches at Sixfields. We have also had marches and petitions but on top of this I believe we should support the Parliamentary moves to help reform the governance of football, to try and prise the fingers of self interested owners from the reigns of power and return some say to us, the fans. There is an online petition by City fans asking parliament to look at the situation at Coventry and it is worth every Coventry fan signing it. More significantly I believe writing to your MP urging them to support Damian Collins bill would show the Football League how unhappy we are with the way they have treated Coventry fans. Make them aware of your desire for reform of governance in general. lt might not help solve the crisis at Coventry directly but it might put pressure on the Football League to get more involved with the Sky Blues rather than shutting their eyes and hoping it all goes away. It might just help to find a solution in getting our club back to Coventry.
The football authorities are scared of government legislation on football as it would disturb their cosy, insular, self interested little world – as football fans we want our clubs back and supporting the select committee, mutuals committee and the Private Members bill is a start. Contact your MP and make your feelings known – remember they work for you and should represent your views. Write to them today.Write comment (0 Comments)
Unfortunately the open meeting scheduled for 3rd February had to be postponed as guest speaker, Cov legend Deitmar Bruck, was unexpectedly called away on business. We are trying to get a new date as I am sure it would have been a great evening talking about football for a change!
Following a meeting with David Johnston from the Keep Cov In Cov group we agreed that the Trust would approach Supporters Direct for them to put pressure directly on the Government and the relevant football authorities concerning the matter of football governance and to revisit their decision and reopen the discussion. Over a year ago the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee on football governance issued a decree to the football authorities to get their house in order. 12 months on and nothing as changed, in fact for many clubs things have got worse – Hull, Cardiff, Blackburn, Leeds and of course Cov.
KCIC have started an e-petition on the subject with the aim of raising 100,000 signatures and forcing the authorities to at least consider looking at the matter and treating Coventry City as a perfect test case of football mismanagement.
If you wish to look at the petition and sign it it can be found at the following link: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59884
To date 11,000 people have signed – a good start but the momentum must be maintained. To aid this the Trust has asked SD to contact all member Trusts and ask them to ask their members to look at the petition and sign it.
We are also contacting each Trust directly and asking them to support this initiative. To date we have contacted 52 Trusts.Write comment (0 Comments)
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