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Published on October 15th, 2014 | by Bill

Taking Back Our Game

You will have no doubt read a lot about the Price of Football from the BBC today. We believe that it’s time for action. The following appears in the new issue of STAND (#10) which is out this week. You can pre-order a print copy here or download our free app and start a subscription – all details on that are here

TAKING BACK OUR GAME

STAND believes it’s time for plain talking on fan ownership of football.

It would be easy to spend pages of the fanzine on the ills of football: from the big six clubs’ domination; the hoarding of wealth and youth talent in the Premier League; the £1 billion debt mountain in the Championship; the crooks targeting our clubs; high ticket prices to the malaise of the national side….

But every issue can be traced back to supporters being blocked from having a fair say in the running of our own sport by a cabal of unrepresentative elites

The Football Supporters’ Federation and Supporters Direct with combined membership of a million were not even originally consulted by the “comprehensive” England Commission which suggested B teams and a League 3.

Today we call all on football fans, both individuals and collectives, to stand together under one banner to take our game back from the unelected executives that sell us back a sport we can run ourselves.

It’s time for safe standing. We insist on the right to stand safely on rail seated terraces. What the authorities fear is not hooliganism but solidarity.

We demand a fans’ delegate on the Football Association Board.  We reject a subjugated voice hidden in the archaic Council alongside such outmoded voices as Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the Independent Schools Football Association.

The FA has the chance to right the wrongs of its 1991 Blueprint for the Future of Football which paved the way for the breakaway Premier League and aimed at an explicit “middle-classification” of the sport, a “move upmarket so as to follow the affluent middle class consumer” who chooses to “eat in an expensive restaurant, play golf, buy a ticket to Wimbledon or the Open or take a holiday abroad”.

We will keep the FA to the 1991 Blueprint’s stated aim “to better involve authentic supporter representatives in consultative and decision-making capacities within the game, perhaps particularly as such decisions may relate to major plans for its restructuring”.

From this, serious discussion on fan ownership of clubs can begin while the Premier League with its two-man board is opened up to reasoned scrutiny.

Fans are told “you are football” by the likes of Barclays Bank. It’s time the Football Association, Premier and Football League lived up to these communal values. We will seek to expose sponsors that fly in the face of supporters’ interests and the health of the wider sport.

STAND urges interested individuals, fan groups, supporters’ trusts, journalists, politicians and anyone with the wellbeing of football at heart to pledge their support and follow STAND fanzine online, on social media and in print.

We are many, they are few. Let’s take our game back. Stand Against Modern Football.

@STANDfanzine

(Cartoon by the brilliant David Squires)

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