High Hopes For Christmas – Newsletter (December 2021)

It’s been rare to send a Newsletter to Trust members knowing that we may have the best performing team this Century! Hope you are all enjoying the young, intense and team-minded group playing for the Rovers. And half of them always ‘home grown’.

Meanwhile the recent Fan-Led Review called for an Independent Regulator (IREF); changes to the trickle-down monies from the Premier League; and 45 other recommendations to the Government. Our next newsletter will give details of how your Trust Board would like you to write to your MP to support the Review.

Meanwhile, read the details below and click on the link to the full Report. We also plan a Members Event towards the end of February to discuss the Review…..which includes a “Golden Share” for a Supporters Group with a basis as a Community Benefit Society (hence your £10 annual fee) and the Rovers Trust needs to earn that responsibility.

Have a safe, healthy and winning Christmas and 2022.

Fan-led Review of Football Governance

Earlier in 2021, the Rovers Trust was invited to give evidence to the Fan-led Review of Football Governance, commissioned by the Government and chaired by Tracy Crouch MP.

The review published its interim findings in the summer and its final report in November, including several proposals and recommendations which – if enacted – will improve and radically transform our game for the better. The Rovers Trust was pleased to see that many of our own suggestions were included in the final report. Not all the recommendations will be of immediate benefit to the Rovers, particularly the financial aspects. For example, our wage to turnover ratio is comparatively high and would need to be addressed. However, we at the Trust don’t think anyone could argue that the current losses being incurred by football clubs, including the Rovers, are unsustainable and need to be controlled and regulated.

On the positive side, many of the recommendations tie in with the Rovers Trust’s core aims and objectives. One might even argue that protecting the heritage and history of the club while giving the supporters some say in its running is the Trust’s ‘raison d’etre’. We are especially keen to push for the introduction of the ‘golden share’ supporters veto, which would allow a democratic and legally constituted fan group such as the Rovers Trust to veto any attempt to (for example) change the club’s name, sell off the stadium or join a breakaway Super League.

Naturally we are now keen to see that these recommendations are implemented by the Government. The Trust spoke to Tracy Crouch herself informally, and she is confident that the necessary legislative plans will be included in the next Queen’s Speech. However, on the advice of the Football Supporters Association we have also contacted all Lancashire MPs (and selected other MPs on the wrong side of the county boundary) urging them to write to Nadine Dorries, the secretary of state for

the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and call on the Government to back all the recommendations in the Review. We now expect all the recommendations, set out below, to be delivered.

Governance: an independent regulator for football (IREF) which has the necessary investigative and enforcement powers needed to prevent the recurrence of such developments as the European Super League.

Finance: football’s model is unsustainable with too many clubs making losses. Pre-emptive action is needed, and a regulator will impose stronger financial controls.

Engagement: proposals to embed democratic supporter organisations and engagement within the heart of domestic football.

Heritage: football stadiums, club badges, location, colours and competitions all deserve special protections. Fans to have a veto on these assets at every club via a “golden share” which is held by a democratic, legally constituted fan group. In the case of Blackburn Rovers, we are strongly of the opinion that the Rovers Trust is the correct vehicle for the golden share, given that one of the Trust’s core objectives is to protect the heritage of the club.

Reform: half of the FA Board should be made up of independent non-executive directors, to reduce elite club influence. The Review also recommends reform of the FA Council.

Distribution: the removal of restrictions on FA spending meaning more money redirected towards grassroots, non-league, and women’s football.

Equality: Equality, diversity and inclusion plans should be mandatory for all clubs.

Women’s game: a recommendation that a new review is set up specifically to explore the challenges facing the women’s game. Those challenges may or may not require a different approach to the men’s game, but they must be examined thoroughly and independently.

If you haven’t already read the full Fan-led Review, it can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fan-led-review-of-football-governance-securing-the-games-future

We would also encourage you to join the Trust’s Facebook Group. It is available to Trust members only, by providing either your membership number, username, or email as proof of membership upon application to join.


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