Liberal Democrats party conference: Delegates back football tax and scorn urge to win

Guy Bentley
Follow Guy
Not everyone was rivetted by the Lib Dem conference (Source: Getty)

The Liberal Democrats are languishing at six per cent in the opinion polls with only months to go until the next general election.

The party's conference in Glasgow continues to be a relatively low-key affair with few new policy announcements, with most of the public seemingly worn out by the Scottish referendum and the other party conferences.

However, the event is still peppered with those things that set Lib Dems apart from their Labour and Conservative rivals. One such spectacle is motions proposed and passed by conference itself.

Lib Dem conferences often indulge the country with their displays of eccentricity, debating such crucial issues as banning goldfish as prizes and whether to up the amount of public money spent to cycling to the level spent on the Home Office.

This year, the Lib Dems haven't disappointed, with a motion warning of the danger winning poses to football:

Winning has become the primary motive in the sport - leading to financial risk taking, high debt levels and almost a hundred instances of club bankruptcy since 1992.

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Bath Steve Bradley introduced the motion that contained a plethora of changes to UK football saying this "blows the whistle on the mismanagement of English football's boom".

One of the more eye-catching parts of the package is a five per cent tax on English and Scottish Premier League TV revenues. The tax will be used to "fund the strengthening of the game’s grass roots and lower leagues, and to ensure greater democracy and equality within the game".

Furthermore, the Lib Dems are concerned that too many people are priced out of regularly attending top-level football matches.

"Ten per cent of all tickets for matches at English Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Premier League level to be made available at an ‘affordable’ price" the motion said. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no definition of 'affordable price' was provided.

The conference also wanted clubs to play a more active role in civic life proposing a "strong, mandatory commitment for all league-level clubs to play an active role within their local communities, with funding available to enable this".

Some Lib Dems were less than impressed by the proposition of taxes and mandates to solve the alleged problems in football. Sheffield Central parliamentary candidate Joe Otten asked: "Are we a liberal party or a back of the envelope over-regulation party?".

The motion was passed in full.

Related articles