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Petition To Enforce 50+1 Rule In England Reaches 100,000 Signatures, Must Be Considered By Government

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Petition To Enforce 50+1 Rule In England Reaches 100,000 Signatures, Must Be Considered By Government

A petition to introduce a Bundesliga-style, 50+1 club ownership rule in English football has reached over 100,000 signatures.

That means the UK government must now consider the petition for debate in the house of parliament.

The 50+1 rule has received huge publicity in the aftermath of the aborted European Super League plan. The rule in Germany is that any football league club must be 51% owned by its fans (or 'members'), protecting clubs from the influence of external investors.

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What angered fans of the Premier League clubs involved - and many other football supporters around the country - is that fans were never considered and held little power (outside the power of protest) when it came to major decisions regarding their club.

The angry backlash helped force a U-turn from the owners of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.

But now the fans have made their voices felt, there's an ongoing debate as to how they can stop this happening again - while many fans (such as Arsenal supporters with Stan Kroenke and Man United fans with the Glazer family) also want rid of parasitic owners who they believe view the clubs purely as an investment opportunity.

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The 50+1 rule is viewed as a way to achieve this and put fans back in partial control of their clubs, as no external investor can own more than 49% of a club. Now that this petition has reached 100,000+ signatures, the British government must consider the matter for debate.

The stated aim of the petition is to: "Bring in a law which enforces professional football clubs to have at least 51% fan ownership, similar to how the Bundesliga operates this rule.

"The new 'European Super League' plans show the clear greed of elite football club owners in England. This precedent of profit over people is already taking the game away from everyday people who founded and made the sport what it is.

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"This law would ensure decisions made around the clubs would take the fans and good of the game as a priority over money."

The 50+1 rule is not entirely perfect. Many point to the example of the rise of RB Leipzig, where membership is very restricted and most of the members just happen to be employees of Red Bull.

However it clearly does empower supporters - and it was notable that no Bundesliga club was part of the original European Super League plan, which involved three La Liga clubs and three from Serie A as well as the Premier League six.

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British prime minister Boris Johnson has said that former sports minister Tracey Crouch would carry out a "root-and-branch investigation into the governance of football and into what we can do to promote the role of fans in that governance."

It awaits to be seen whether the petition adds any weight to possible changes at government level.

All imagery: PA Images

Topics: European Super League, Football, Premier League, Bundesliga

Alex Reid
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