By Justin Madders

MP for Ellesmere Port

The last week has seen a really topsy turvy turn of events in football which in terms of drama matches some of the greatest games. The proposals for a European Super League were proposed and halted within the space of 48 hours as fans of all clubs indicated they would never accept a new competition to which entry would not be based on merit.

I would love to be able to able to tell all football fans that plans for something akin to the European Super League are now dead and buried but something tells me that the greedy owners will be back in due course with other controversial proposals affecting our leading Premiership teams. I hope I am wrong but I have to advise you to watch out for more pressure being applied to change the Champions League to favour the few and not the many, as those same owners try to find more ways to ensure that cash, and not sport, rules. Given how wonderful it was to see fans across the country coming together so determinedly last week in opposition to the quickly ditched European Super League brainchild, at the very least we know those same owners are almost certain to have a big fight on their hands if they come up with any other proposals equally disliked by supporters.

Football – the nation’s favourite game and loved by millions for more than 100 years – is important in the lives of so many men, women and children. The sport gives them all so much pleasure. It is vital that general structural challenges affecting football are sorted out by the Football Association, the sport’s governing body in England. Increasing numbers of fans support the big Premiership sides but there are many other supporters of clubs in the lower Champions League divisions, and indeed lots of people who take great pleasure in supporting their local teams in a variety of league tiers up and down the land. The standard of facilities in many cities, towns and villages can be quite poor and it can be a real struggle for communities to keep football and other sporting venues up and running. These proposals would have in the long run seen more and more cash go the very top of the game at the expense of everyone else.

I have long believed in the need for a levy on transfer fees as a means of generating money for grassroots football. This would be a long overdue move to redress the financial imbalance in the sport and, as so many other fans have mentioned in the past few days, we need to look at the German model of governing football which ensure that fans have a proper say in how the sport is governed. Way back in April 2017 I put forward, as a Private Members Bill, the Football Supporters (Access) Bill.

I was seeking to require football clubs to set aside a proportion of transfer fees paid for the development of football facilities for local clubs and young people and was also calling for clubs to provide tickets to matches for certain people under a specified age and I wanted local authorities to be called upon to consider the needs of match-going supporters when approving kick-off times. Four years later and we are not much further forward so let this be the time where we start to move towards many more football clubs being run by, and for, their supporters.