The Labour party has made a manifesto commitment to mutualism in football. The supporter ownership pledge marks a sea change in football regulation in the country. If followed through with a legislative programme, Labour’s commitment will offer Manchester United supporters the opportunity to buy 25 per cent of the club.
The pledge – a story broken by the Guardian’s Owen Gibson last month – is made under the banner Registered Supporters Trusts enabled to buy stakes in their club bringing mutualism to the heart of football:
Protecting the integrity of professional sport is vital: we will toughen measures to combat cheating and the use of illegal substances in sport. We will work with governing authorities to ensure that professional clubs are accountable to their stakeholders, and run transparently on sound financial principles, with greater involvement of local communities and supporter representation. Sports governing bodies will be empowered to scrutinise takeovers of clubs, ensuring they are in the long-term interests of the club and the sport. We will develop proposals to enable registered Supporters Trusts to buy stakes in their clubs.
Last week Rant discussed football finances, regulation and ownership with Guardian journalist Paul MacInnes, Kevin Rye from Supporters Direct and CaughtOffside’s Phil Lythell as part of the Observer Conversation series.