Fans cheer as councillors back football campaign

Fans watch as the FansNotNumbers campaign is debated
Fans watch as the FansNotNumbers campaign is debated
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Councillors have voted unanimously to support a campaign calling for an independent body to be set up which could intervene in disputes between football fans and club owners.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams won full backing for his notice of motion asking for Blackpool Council to endorse the FansNotNumbers campaign.

Blackpool FC fans, who had listened to the debate in the public gallery, cheered as the move was agreed last night.

Labour councillors said the campaign reflected policies their party had included in recent general election manifestos.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn told a meeting of the council he agreed the move would “begin to resolve some of the issues” which have affected Blackpool Football Club.

He said he understood “exactly what it is like to have owners who appear to be at odds with the ambitions of the fans and the ambitions of the club.

“Having a fan on the board of the club and having a degree of control over the club makes absolute sense.”

Coun Williams put forward his motion after being part of a panel that addressed a meeting of fans held at the resort’s Hilton Hotel earlier this month.

He said: “Every football club is a community enterprise, its problems, its lack of income - this affects all of the community.

“It affects local business, it affects families coming together, so I believe this is an excellent campaign.”

Campaigners are demanding government legislation forcing owners to run football clubs in the best interests of their community and to involve fans in the running of clubs.

Their first meeting was held in the resort due to the ongoing dispute between supporters of Blackpool FC and owners the Oystons.

Following the vote, the council’s chief executive will now write to Prime Minister Theresa May and the Secretary of State for Sport Karen Bradley in support of the calls for an independent regulatory body for football in the UK.