Like most of the commenters to the Guardian article, I find this information too good to be true. Is it possible that such a radical proposal could actually be implemented?
The government is to unveil radical proposals that would give football fans first option to buy their clubs when they were put up for sale and require clubs to hand over a stake of up to 25% to supporters' groups.
The ideas, due to be included in the Labour manifesto with a promise of action in the first year of a new government, are designed to give fans a far greater say in how their football clubs are run and overhaul the way the game is governed.
It is believed that No 10, which has been working secretly on the plans for weeks, has resolved to deliver concrete proposals to tackle growing public disquiet at the level of debt carried by some clubs, the ownership model of others and the dysfunctional structure of the Football Association.
The plans include:
• Requiring clubs to hand a stake of up to 25% to fans in recognition of their links with their local community.
• Implementing a change-of-control clause that would allow fans a window to put together a takeover of their club if it was up for sale or went into administration.
• Giving the football authorities a deadline to reform the FA and remove "vested interests" from the board, and streamline decision making.
• Introducing a unified system of governance that co-ordinates issues such as club ownership and youth development.
• Allowing professional leagues and the FA additional oversight of club takeovers.
The plans are likely to put Gordon Brown on a collision course with the Premier League, which has vigorously defended its free-market model in recent years, but he will claim that the proposals are for the good of the game.
Some background on English football club ownership:
- American billionaire Malcolm Glazer purchased Manchester United in 2004 for 1.5 billion pounds, including £900 million of debt (and £60 million a year in interest).
- An Abu-Dhabi-based consortium bought Manchester City F.C. in 2008 from emabattled Thai president Thaksin Shinawatra, injecting untold billions into the English transfer market, and inflating transfer prices by throwing money around like it was their job--including a terrible £32-million swoop for Brazilian flop Robinho.
- Americans George Gillett (ex-owner of Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club) and Tom Hicks own Liverpool F.C. with about £50 million in debt. They are rumoured to be looking to sell to another Dubai consortium.
What do babblers think (even non-footie fans)?