Today the Football Supporters’ Federation led the “Share TV Wealth” demonstration at the Premier League’s shareholder meeting, demanding cheaper tickets, more money for grassroots football and a more equitable distribution of money throughout the pyramid.
Following that meeting, the Premier League has announced increased funding for grassroots facilities, solidarity payments to lower leagues, sporting and educational initiatives, and support of disadvantaged groups. Significantly, there is also a new commitment to funding work in relation to the matchday experience and fan engagement.
The total spending in these five areas represents £1bn of the £5.14bn TV deal.
The announcement of these increased funding streams is a welcome one and we are particularly pleased with the new funds aimed at match-going supporters.
We look forward to continued dialogue between fans, clubs and the Premier League as to how this money is spent. Supporters must be at the heart of the decision making process; every club’s fan base has different needs, and addressing these requires proper dialogue.
Additionally, we welcome the news that the Premier League is to become a Living Wage employer and that its clubs will be required to do likewise.
The living wage makes a real difference to people’s lives and, earlier this year, we became the first national football organisation to become an accredited Living Wage employer. It’s something we are very proud of.
We’d like to thank everyone who came to today’s “Share TV Wealth” demo. Activism isn’t always easy, and those fans in attendance had to make sacrifices, use annual leave, and even travel across the country to make today’s event. Their hard work has kept fans’ interests in the spotlight and maintained pressure on both the Premier League and clubs.
This hasn’t fixed every last issue that fans have, but it does illustrates a positive attitude of engagement from those who hold the purse strings in English football. As supporters we have to keep our foot to the floor to deliver real benefits for football fans at every level of the game.