Council asked to back football clubs reform

Coun Tony Williams
Coun Tony Williams
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Town hall chiefs are being urged to back the formation of an independent body which could intervene in disputes between football fans and club owners.

Coun Tony Williams will put a notice of motion before Blackpool Council on Wednesday calling on the authority to formally support the ‘FansNotNumbers’ campaign.

He was part of a panel that addressed a meeting of fans held at the resort’s Hilton Hotel earlier this month to discuss the issue.

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.

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

Coun Williams’ notice of motion says “Blackpool has obvious and evident issues between its football club and a huge majority of local and out of town fans”.

It adds the “council has a duty and an economical interest to promote change to the regulatory system to ensure that energy is spent on building not destroying supporter and community relations.”

The council’s chief executive is being asked to 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.

Councillors will be asked to vote on the motion. Christine Seddon, from the Blackpool Supporters Trust, is also urging fans to lobby their MPs to support the campaign.

The FansNotNumbers campaign is a joint initiative between Supporters Direct, sportswear company SKINS whose chairman Jamie Fuller is one of the key agitators, and social media platform SPORF.

A full reform document will be delivered to the Government following five fans meetings, including the one in Blackpool.

Coun Williams says the UK is one of only five countries in the world that do not have an independent regulatory body for football already.

He believes the formation of the body should be supported by all political parties.