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HTSA Calls On Huddersfield Town to Back Independent Regulation of Football

In light of the government’s “fan-led” review of football, HTSA has penned an open letter to the club’s Board of Directors asking them to back independent regulation of the game.

Dear Board of Directors,

We are writing to you at a time of unparalleled danger and opportunity for football in general and our club more specifically.

To be sure, the national game stands at a crossroads.

On one side, elite clubs and their benefactors seem determined to extend their already considerable wealth, power, and influence at the expense of the rest. Although Project Big Picture and the European Super League may well be dead for now, it is only a matter of time before similar schemes take their place—no doubt in the form of a “sugar-coated cyanide pill” that forces clubs such as Town to choose between short-term survival and long-term relevance.

On the other, fans’ groups, politicians, players, academics, journalists, and community clubs are calling for a radical overhaul of existing governance structures and financial regulations. Our hope is to wrestle back some of that wealth, power, and influence.

We all know the problems—an ever-growing gap between the haves and have nots, lack of competitive balance, spiralling wages and transfer fees, ineffectual governing bodies, and so on. The question is, how do we propose to solve them?

For the past two decades, the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) has undertaken detailed work on the subject alongside members of parliament and policy experts. Many of the findings and recommendations of this endeavour can be found in the organisation’s 2018 paper on ‘Improving the Regulation of Professional Football Clubs’. These inform the ‘Sustain The Game’ campaign, of which we are a signatory.

In short, to make English and Welsh football sustainable at every level of the pyramid, HTSA believe that it is necessary to impose stricter financial controls, encourage a more equitable distribution of revenues, and protect clubs as assets of community value.

But, above all, we believe that it is necessary to establish an independent regulator to enforce such rules, otherwise they will not be worth the paper on which they are written.

According to a representative poll conducted by YouGov, 79 percent of fans share this belief—as do the 142,593 people who recently signed a petition asking Parliament to ‘Introduce an Independent Regulator for Football in England’. The results of our own 2020/21 end of season survey show that a majority of Town fans agree, too. And they are in good company, from well-respected clubs (Fair Game) and former governors of the Bank of England to ex-Ministers for Sport and Civil Society and prominent sports lawyers.

HTSA made these points last week when we provided evidence to the expert panel overseeing the Government’s “fan-led” review of football, which is chaired by Tracey Crouch MP. We are convinced that this review—as well as the fallout from the pandemic—presents a once in a lifetime chance for all stakeholders to come together to actively safeguard and strengthen the game we love.

As the Chairman and Chief Executive have both presciently and repeatedly warned, football is broken. We invite you to help us fix it by publicly backing 'Sustain The Game', 'Fair Game', or independent regulation.

Yours Sincerely,

The Huddersfield Town Supporters Association (HTSA)

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