As a Manchester United supporter and prominent blogger I am more aware of the problems in football finance than ever before.
This weekend United and Liverpool meet at Old Trafford and each faces similar problems of an over-leveraged business model and significant debt.
The result at United has been a 48 per cent (on average) rise in season ticket prices over the past five years. It is an increase that has far outstripped inflation and promises to exclude the next generation of supporters from the stadium.
But it is not just these high profile teams that are beset with problems resulting from financial mismanagement. Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, Southend, Cardiff, Notts County and Chester City supporters are suffering too.
Football has failed to put its house in order and enact proper regulation of the game we all love. The Football Association has failed our game. It is not good enough simply to say that football works within the framework of company law when whole communities look to their club for inspiration.
The narrow ‘fit and proper’ owners test has failed to ensure proper management in football.
Football needs proper governance. A system of regulation that ensures our sport remains credible, fair and serves the long term interests of the game. Football is too important to allow this mismanagement to go on any longer. We must act now.
A movement is developing at United, which is inspiring supporters across the country. When United supporters spend money on tickers or merchandise from our club the owners, the Glazer family, take 75 per cent of profit all profit to service debt and pay themselves dividends. The long term future of one of the sport’s most famous institutions is under threat.
While clubs like United, Liverpool and Portsmouth are most affected, this story is repeated across football. As a leader in this field we need you to stand up and act now to protect the game we all love.
Alan Keen, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Football Group
Don Foster, Liberal Democrat Sports spokesman
Lord David Triesman, FA Chairman
Ian Watmore, FA Chief Executive
Gerry Sutcliffe , Minister for Sports and Tourism
Hugh Robertson, Conservative Sports Spokesman
Ian Lucas, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform
Michel Platini, President of UEFA
Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive
Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA
Send your own letter via the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust today.