UK's Labour Party proposes fan ownership of EPL teams

Friday October 17th, 2014

Britain's Labour Party has promised if it rises to power in the 2015 general election, fans will be able to own a minority stake in their favorite club, a BBC Sport report and a report in British newspaper The Guardian said. 

The proposal would allow die-hard fans of every club, from the English Premier League all the way down to the lowest levels of the labyrinthine English Football League system, to buy an ownership stake in their team. 

Currently, 14 soccer clubs allow fans to sit on their boards, according to the BBC. The only EPL club which permits this is Swansea City, of which the fans' trust owns 20 percent of the team. 

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Under Labour's proposal, if an ownership stake of more than 30 percent changes hands, fans would be allowed to purchase up to 10 percent of said ownership shares over a 240-day period, during which the fans would be permitted to raise money for the purchase. Once fans owned 10 percent of a club's shares, other buyers and sellers would no longer be required to offer fans additional shares for purchase, but could do so if they wanted to. 

The proposal could allow for fans to have direct input on issues such as rising ticket costs, The Guardian reported. “Our view is that the time has come for fans to be represented at this level,” Labour sports minister Clive Efford told the newspaper, adding that if elected Labour would "definitely implement" the proposal. 

Efford's conservative counterpart, Minister of Sport Helen Grant, recently told the BBC she was "concerned and cross" about ticket costs, and said clubs shouldn't take their fans for granted. Fans of EPL club Arsenal are expected to demand a ticket price freeze at a team executives meeting.  

- Will Green

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