Football supporters' groups given government backing and extra £1m funding from Premier League in new report

 
Joe Hall
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Arsenal's supporters cheer before the Ca
Loud and proud: The report recommends clubs have greater dialogue with their fans (Source: Getty)

Premier League and Football League clubs have been instructed by the government to consult more regularly with supporters' groups in a new report.

Clubs should meet with fans' groups at least twice a year and consult them on any major changes to the club's identity such as a colour change, new club crest or relocating to a new stadium, the government's Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement has recommended.

The report was put together following 10 meetings over 12 months between FA and Premier League representatives, supporters' trusts and ministers from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

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Fan groups have welcomed the report, which also includes a number of recommendations on how to assist fan ownership of clubs, describing it as a "step forward" but also calling on ministers to ensure they are implemented.

"The government must keep pressure on the football authorities to ensure that this marks the start of a new era of meaningful dialogue," said Supporters Direct chairman Brian Burgess.

He added: "It is a welcome step forward in a long-term process of reform, aiming to reconnect clubs with their communities."

The report recommends that Supporters' Trusts should be given the opportunity to make a bid for their club should it become insolvent and that groups such as Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) should develop a database for professional experts willing to offer such groups pro-bono advice.

Supporters' groups will also be able to access an extra £1m funding pledged by the Premier League over the next three years.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “The expert working group has been a really positive way for football to work with supporter groups to develop practical ways to improve supporter engagement and provide assistance for supporter trusts considering bidding for their club."

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