It will have been impossible to miss the press reports over the weekend, where 12 clubs from England, Italy and Spain outlined their plans to create a Super League.
This announcement managed to achieve the impossible in uniting fans, pundits, administrators and even Government officials across Europe, with the common theme being that this is a plan borne out of pure greed, with no consideration for their own fans, other clubs or how this affects the wider game.
While we are pleased many of these clubs have now begrudgingly backtracked from this plan, and we are proud of the reaction of the broader football community, now is not the time to rest on our laurels.
The Swans Trust has long-campaigned for fans to have a bigger say in the running of their football club and better governance to ensure clubs are run in a financially sustainable manner, so we welcome the commitment from the UK Government to launch a fan-led review of football. We particularly welcome the commitment to review the financial stability of the game, independent regulation, and how fans can have a greater say in the oversight of the game.
Given our history, we are better placed than most to understand how important it is for fans to have a significant stake in their football club, which is the obvious way to ensure fans have a degree of oversight and influence, but also that the level of engagement and involvement must be meaningful. Token measures are of little value.
Year on year, and even before this pandemic, the inequalities within football have been getting bigger and bigger. Money is concentrated at the top level with relatively little filtering down. The competitiveness within the Championship is skewed when parachute payments give the teams relegated from the Premier League an unfair advantage. We know that our club has benefitted from that to a degree, even if any benefit we enjoyed has been more than offset by the need to recover from the mistakes of the final years of our Premier League tenure. We strongly believe that far more needs to be done to ensure a fair distribution of TV revenues throughout the game.
We cannot be blind to the issues that already existed, and this fan-led review is the perfect opportunity to address them. What cannot be allowed to happen is for these clubs to use such threats as leverage to increase the inequalities that already exists. Just this week the Champions League has already amended its entry requirements to benefit these same clubs. The days of appeasing these clubs, at the expense of others, must end.
We are in constant dialogue with our fellow Supporters’ Trusts through the Football Supporters’ Association. We expect the FSA to play a full and central role in this review and will be expressing our views on these issues in the strongest possible terms.
This sorry episode is just the latest example of why supporter representative organisations such as the Swans Trust, other Supporters’ Trusts and the FSA are so important in ensuring the views of the fans are represented, not only within our own club’s boardroom but also across the football community and within Government.
Swansea City Supporters’ Trust
21st April 2021