Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Trust urges change as Tracey Crouch's fan-led review is released

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Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Trust will write to the club to push for urgent change after the release of a high profile review into football governance.

The high-profile ‘Fan-Led Review’, pioneered by Tracey Crouch MP and supported by the Football Supporters’ Association, published its final report today.

Among the headline recommendations are the implementation of an independent regulator to oversee national governance of the game. It also made a raft of suggested changes to how things are run at club level.

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One such change would see a 'shadow board' of fans put in place at clubs so they are properly consulted on key decisions and that supporters hold a 'golden share' to protect their clubs' heritage and which competitions they play in.

Now the SWST will write to the club to encourage them to ‘get ahead of the game’ and implement the review’s recommendations, many of which are reported to be supported by Downing Street.

Among the recommendations set to be put to the club are that Wednesday fans, via a legally structured, democratically run and accountable body hold a ‘Golden Share’ in SWFC, which would mean fans have the right of veto major heritage changes such as the club’s name, club colours, club badge, location of the club stadium and – most pertinent to Wednesday perhaps – any sale or transfer of ownership of the club stadium.

They recommend the establishment of that Supporters’ Shadow Board to ‘represent the interest of fans at the club’ and the establishment a new ‘transparency charter’ that they maintain would better share information on the running of the club and future plans.

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They will also ask for the appointment of a group of elected non-executive directors to the club board, bring a fresh perspective and independent challenge on all matters concerning the running of the club and would report back to supporters on their work.

Sheffield Wednesday have been urged to make structural changes in the wake of the Fan-Led Review.Sheffield Wednesday have been urged to make structural changes in the wake of the Fan-Led Review.
Sheffield Wednesday have been urged to make structural changes in the wake of the Fan-Led Review.

The Trust will also ask the club to produce a publicly available Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.

Steve Walmsley, Chair of the Trust Board, said: “For too long now Wednesday fans have been in the dark and kept at arms-length about the running of their club; establishing an Engagement Panel that has no structure or teeth did not meet the challenge before and will certainly not do so in the new landscape following the FLR Review.

“Without fans football is nothing, they are the lifeblood of any club, they are not customers, they are stakeholders in the history and the future of the club.

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“SWFC now has a real opportunity to make a major change to how it operates and engages with, and is accountable to, supporters. We strongly urge SWFC to get ahead of the game and build a wholly new approach in response to the FLR.”

Campaigners hope the release of the review can bring about sweeping change to football governance at a national and local level.

“This is a huge opportunity for football,” Crouch told BBC Sport.

“We've seen football lurching from crisis to crisis over the past decade and unfortunately we haven't had the right levels of regulation in place to stop that from happening.”