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Corbyn: Football clubs are ‘too important to be left in the hands of bad owners’

The Labour leader promises to empower fans over how their clubs are run

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn is to call for football fans to be given a much greater say on how their clubs are run, promising that a Labour government would empower fans and communities and review football governance.

Football clubs are “too important to be left in the hands of bad owners,” Corbyn said at the weekend after meeting with Newcastle United Football Club fans campaigning against the club’s owner Mike Ashley. 

“A football club is more than just a club, it is an institution at the heart of our communities. Clubs are part of the social fabric that binds us together.”

The Arsenal season ticket holder said “bad owners like Mike Ashley... put their business interests ahead of everything else, marginalise supporters and even put the financial security of clubs at risk. 

“Sport must be run in the interests of those who participate in it, follow it and love it, not just for the privileged and wealthy few. 

“We will ensure that supporters have a say over how their club is run and review how fans can have more of a say about how all of our sporting bodies are run.”

Under the party’s new plans football supporters’ trusts would be able to purchase shares when clubs change hands and have the power to appoint, and fire, at least two members of a club’s board of directors.

Labour says it has also pledged to review fan participation in sports governance at all levels, and ensure that the Premier League invests 5 per cent of the income it receives for television rights into grassroots football to improve facilities and pitches and support the next generation of players and coaches.

Corbyn also called on football clubs to guarantee to pay their staff the living wage, ban zero-hours contracts and improve access provision for disabled sports fans. 

The party’s plans also include cracking down on ticket-tout websites which vastly inflated match day prices, and implement the consumer protection measures outlined in the 2016 Waterson Review. 

Women’s sporting events, including the Women’s Football World, will be added to the list of key sporting events to be broadcast free-to-air, the party said.

Labour’s Community Organising Unit is currently working with Newcastle United Football Club fans to organise against billionaire owner Mike Ashley, with thousands of fans boycotting the club’s games in protest against the greedy billionaire.

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