Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden holds ‘constructive’ talks on return of football fans

The Government has held what it described as “constructive” talks with football leaders around how the game is run, how it is financed, getting fans back into grounds and diversity.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 5:42 pm
Britain's Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. (Photo by KIRSTY O'CONNOR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden met virtually with representatives from the men’s and women’s professional games and fans’ groups on Tuesday, and said further discussions will continue.

“Constructive conversation with football leaders on governance and getting fans back,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I want to work together with football to make progress on important issues for the game’s long-term future.

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“Discussions to continue as we start our fan-led review of governance.”

The fan-led review was a commitment the Conservative party made in its election manifesto last year. Dowden had spoken last month about the wisdom of committing to such a review when Project Big Picture proposals became public knowledge.

He described PBP as a “distraction at best” from what he saw as the main priority of the Premier League providing financial assistance to clubs in the EFL starved of matchday income.

There is still no formal agreement over a rescue package, though the EFL said last Thursday a “significant step forward” had been taken when it was agreed negotiations around a £50m package of grants and loans for League One and Two clubs could be finalised.

PBP proposed an immediate £250m rescue package for the EFL as an advance of future revenues, with the promise of a 25 per cent share for the EFL in all future TV deals the Premier League struck.

PBP was rejected by Premier League clubs in favour of the continuation of a strategic review.

The Football Supporters’ Association responded to Dowden’s post by tweeting: “For us, a fan-led review is the crucial next step. Bring it on.”

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