Football fans would be given a new right to representation on their club’s board and the chance to buy up to 10 per cent of its shares if Labour wins the General Election.
And the announcement has been welcomed by a spokesman for the 1,200-strong Blackpool Supporters Trust, which has been pushing for fans to get more of a say in the running of their club.
Under the proposed new laws, supporters’ trusts would be able to appoint up to a quarter of their club’s board in an effort to ensure their voices are heard by owners.
The measures, which will be in Labour’s manifesto for next year’s election, are aimed at forcing the owners and management of clubs in England and Wales to acknowledge the impact of their decisions on the fans who are considered the lifeblood of the game.
Sam Rushworth, Labour parliamentary candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “While we are fortunate in Blackpool to have more reasonable ticket prices than in other parts of the country, fans have got real concerns about the current situation and want greater transparency and a bigger stake in how the club is run.
“As a football fan myself, I’m thrilled that Labour will now consult on the details of these proposals with supporters and that they will have a place in our manifesto for government next year”
The Blackpool Supporters’ Trust had a representative, secretary Kevin Borodwicz, in attendance at the recent Labour Party Conference, when the subject of increased fans’ involvement was raised among delegates.
Tim Fielding, chairman of the Blackpool Supporters’ Trust, said: “Fans should be consulted more over what goes on at their football clubs, as happens in a number of clubs on the continent.
“It happens at clubs in Spain and Germany, while in Scandinavia my understanding is that fans have a 51 per cent representation on a club’s board.
“A lot of supporters in this country feel disenfranchised because they have no input, so this has to be a positive development. Fans’ representation would allow them to make positive contributions, hopefully for the good of the game.”
Fielding said that the Blackpool trust was already playing its part in promoting the game and grassroots community initiatives.
“I know ticket prices are not an issue at Blackpool or at Fleetwood Town, but they can be when supporters are travelling to away grounds. They take a sharp intake of breath at the prices they are asked to pay.
“Now that the Labour Party has made the announcement, it will be interesting to see what kind of response comes from the Conservatives.”
Labour’s proposals would have other repercussions, not least for trusts like the Blackpool body.
For instance, training would be compulsory for supporters before being allowed to take up positions on boards of directors.