Newcastle United takeover – MP furious with Government response to fan petition
Newcastle United takeover – MP Chi Onwurah is furious with the Government after they finally responded to a Newcastle United fans petition she presented to Parliament over two months ago.
Chi Onwurah represents Newcastle Central, the constituency which includes St James Park, and presented the petition back in September, calling for greater transparency from the Premier League following the collapse of the Newcastle United takeover.
Chi is also a big Newcastle fan and has repeatedly stood up for the NUFC fanbase in challenging Mike Ashley’s running of the club and is now ironically pushing in the same direction as him, with Ashley finally prepared to sell the club after more than a decade of pretending to.
Oliver Dowden has responded on behalf of the Government, the Secretary of State for DCMS (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and commenting on his belated response to the 21,000 fan backed petition, Chi Onwurah has said: ‘This is a wholly inadequate response to all the football fans who signed and supported the petition. It states that “football clubs form an integral part of local communities” and yet the Government refuses to take action to improve Premier League transparency and accountability.’
Ms Onwurah adding: ‘I cannot understand how it took the Secretary of State two months to write this series of clichés, referring to recommendations from 2016 and the repeated promise of another review “in due course”.’
The Newcastle Central MP believes football clubs are an important part of a city’s cultural identity and local economy, but fans don’t get any say on who owns their club. She fears the Premier League’s takeover process will continue to lack transparency, accountability and consistency and fans will remain feeling they have no voice.
Chi Onwurah now reacting to the Government’s response (see below) to the Newcastle United fans petition she presented to Parliament over two months ago:
“This is a wholly inadequate response to all the football fans who signed and supported the petition. It states that “football clubs form an integral part of local communities” and yet the Government refuses to take action to improve Premier League transparency and accountability”.
“I cannot understand how it took the Secretary of State two months to write this series of clichés, referring to recommendations from 2016 and the repeated promise of another review “in due course”.”
“Fans need to have a real involvement in their clubs and the Fan-led Review of Football promised in their manifesto needs to happen now. Otherwise the Premier League will continue to ride roughshod over the interests of fans and communities across the country.”
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for DCMS (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) responding on behalf of the Government to Chi Onwurah and the Newcastle United fans petition:
‘Football clubs form an integral part of local communities up and down the country. Throughout the pandemic football clubs have been playing their part and providing vital support to their local area.
It is crucial that fans’ views and perspectives are listened to. The Government’s Expert Working Group on football supporter ownership and engagement in 2016 set out a number of recommendations to encourage greater engagement between supporters and those that run their club, while also helping to remove barriers to supporter ownership. The Premier League and English Football League now require clubs to meet with supporters at least twice a year to discuss strategic issues, giving fans the opportunity to shape the direction of the club.
The Premier League is responsible for the Owners’ and Directors’ Test which was used to assess the proposed takeover of Newcastle United. The Government have no role in this. The sale of the club has always been a matter for the parties concerned, and for the Premier League to assess under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test.
The Government will undertake a fan-led review of football governance, which will include consideration of the Owners’ and Directors’ test. Fans should be at the heart of future plans to reshape football governance. We will announce the scope and structure of the review in due course.’
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