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House of Commons Hansard
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Premier League transparency
19 November 2020
Volume 684

The petition of residents of Newcastle upon Tyne Central,

Declares that football is an important part of a city’s cultural identity and economy; further declares that football fans have little say in their club owners; notes that football ownership is determined by the Premier League’s Owners & Directors Tests; further notes that the Premier League do not provide updates to supporters about the progress of takeover bids; further declares that Premier League due process is opaque; further declares that the Premier League are not accountable to football supporters; further declares that the Premier League have failed to engage with fans; and further notes concerns that Premier League inactivity led to the collapse of the recent Newcastle United takeover.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take action to review the way in which the Premier League assessed the recent Newcastle United takeover bid, to provide accountability to fans and local communities of clubs subject to takeover bids, with particular reference to Newcastle United, and to commit to a timescale for a fan-led review of football, as promised in the Government’s manifesto.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Chi Onwurah, Official Report, 9 September 2020; Vol. 679, c. 736.]

[P002596]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Oliver Dowden):

Football clubs form an integral part of local communities up and down the country. Throughout the pandemic football clubs have been playing their part and providing vital support to their local area.

It is crucial that fans’ views and perspectives are listened to. The Government’s Expert Working Group on football supporter ownership and engagement in 2016 set out a number of recommendations to encourage greater engagement between supporters and those that run their club, while also helping to remove barriers to supporter ownership. The Premier League and English Football League now require clubs to meet with supporters at least twice a year to discuss strategic issues, giving fans the opportunity to shape the direction of the club.

The Premier League is responsible for the Owners’ and Directors’ Test which was used to assess the proposed takeover of Newcastle United. The Government have no role in this. The sale of the club has always been a matter for the parties concerned, and for the Premier League to assess under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

The Government will undertake a fan-led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test. Fans should be at the heart of future plans to reshape football governance. We will announce the scope and structure of the review in due course.