Fans could be handed 'Golden Shares' to scupper plans for European Super League

FANS could be handed the power to block teams joining a new league under plans being considered by minsters.

Season ticket holders could be handed “golden shares” in their clubs so they have a say in “legacy decisions” in the wake of England’s ‘Big Six’ clubs splitting off to create a closed shop European Super League.


Fans and supporter groups would be able to vote on key decisions, like moving league, stadium or new ownership, without having access to the revenue.

And ministers privately say they will be able to implement this because of a “Brexit bonus” with the nation no longer in a vice-like grip of the European courts.

Government “golden shares” were barred by the EU after airport group BAA euro courts ruled they broke laws promoting the single market back in 2003.

Whitehall insiders say than now we are free from the shackles of Brussels, there would be nothing to stop government imposing similar schemes on clubs – with fans, rather than government owning the shares.

Speaking yesterday, Arsenal Supporters Trust chief Tim Payton said No10 officials in meetings had backed the “golden share” idea.

He said: “We've been compulsively forced out by [Arsenal owner] Stan Kroenke – we didn't want to sell, we were the true custodians, we were able to go to the AGM and hold the directors to account and monitor the financial accounts.

“But he forced us out using company law.

“So, what I pushed for was with the with the government support the FA in the legal action against the clubs and in the longer term for a review that included looking at company law and how fans can perhaps, like in Germany own ‘50 plus one’ of their club or will have a golden share

“It was pleasing to get the response that the government would legislate to address competition law.”

And the 'Big Six' may be forced to play behind closed doors even after Covid – as the competition watchdog opened probe into their hated breakaway Super League.


At crisis talks at Downing Street with the FA and fan groups yesterday the Boris Johnson threatened to hit rebel clubs with a “legislative bomb”.

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the nascent European Super League and the Prime Minister ruled “nothing off the table” in his vow to strangle the plot on takeoff.

As well as windfall taxes and visa restrictions on players, another idea being mooted by ministers would be blocking any club that signs up from having fans in stadiums this year as a punishment for greedy bosses.

Following No10 meeting Mr Johnson launched a blistering assault on the billionaire owners of the ‘Big Six’, turning beloved clubs into the playthings of rich bankers.

And the PM publicly warned them his punishment laws will be brought "to the forefront” if they did not back down.

He added: "How can it be right that you create a kind of cartel that stops clubs playing against each other without the hope and excitement of fans up and down the country?"

In a stark message to club boardrooms, Mr Johnson urged them to remember “football was invented and codified in this country, it is one of the great glories of this country's cultural heritage.

“These clubs, these names, originate from famous towns and cities in our country and I don't think it right, that they should be somehow dislocated from their hometowns, home cities, taken and turned into international brands and commodities to just circulate the planet, propelled by the billions of banks, without any reference to fans to fans and to those who who've loved them all their lives.”

And he added: “I don’t think it right that we should forget the basic principle of competition, which is so important and gives so much excitement and joy to the sport.”

Asked about breaking up ownership of clubs, he added that a root and branch review of the English game would look at German models of fan ownership.

Mr Johnson told the FA they had his “government’s full backing to take whatever action necessary to put a stop to these plans.”

And the PM vowed to “uphold the fundamental principle that any club should have the chance to play and win against the biggest players in the game.”

Last night Downing Street urged English clubs to walk away from the nascent Super League, saying: "I think we're fairly unequivocal that we don't want this to go ahead in the current form so we would welcome any club that wants to step back from this approach."

Meanwhile France announced yesterday that it will push for new EU laws to stop the breakaway league in its tracks.

Europe minister Clement Beaune said: "We must exclude this type of closed competition based on money. I hope UEFA will take the strongest measures.

“We will try, even through EU law, to reinforce the financing systems of small clubs and entrench at last this European model of football.

“We need to act much faster than with legislation. I hope that political pressure will be exerted."

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