Christina Philippou from the University of Portsmouth has joined 30 clubs from the English Football League, 40 world-renowned experts and 19 leading politicians who have come together to launch a new vision for our national game.
Christina is Director of Policy for Fair Game, a group of football clubs supported by experts and politicians, that recently revealed its new vision for football at a launch event at Plough Lane, the home of AFC Wimbledon.
The government is currently developing policies on how to change the national game as part of Tracey Crouch’s football governance review. Fair Game aims to help develop the long-term realistic solutions needed to solve issues around financial stability, owner mismanagement and club’s disconnection with local communities.
Christina, a principal lecturer in Accounting and Financial Management at the University’s Portsmouth Business School, is at the cutting edge of football reform. She has been coordinating over 40 policy advisors across the country to help develop realistic long-term solutions to the problems football faces to ensure clubs are run well financially, respect equality standards and properly engage with their fans and their community.
Christina said: “It’s exciting to be working with clubs and experts – both academics and practitioners – to try and improve governance across the football pyramid so to avoid repeats of the financial problems of Bury FC or Macclesfield Town. It’s great to have so many experts to turn to when problems in need of solutions are brought to Fair Game’s attention by the clubs.”
Fair Game’s vision is outlined in a 48-page manifesto, Putting Pride Back In the Shirt: Fair Game’s Solution for the National Game. It details solutions to various problems within football, including the owners and directors test, financial sustainability, protecting the heritage of clubs, and tackling discrimination.
The document is the result of over six months of hard-work from Fair Game, and follows: ongoing consultation with the clubs; recruitment of global experts; four workshops; nine expert-led working groups, a 66-page options document; five surveys of clubs; and two open scrutiny sessions.
Niall Couper, the Chief Executive Officer of Fair Game, added: “Tracey Crouch’s review represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change football for the better. We have to grasp it and we believe our proposals lay that path.
“We want a sport where every fan can put their shirt on in the morning proud of what it stands for, safe in the knowledge that the traditions and heritage of their club will always be there.”
Among those backing the call is the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. He said: “Fair Game’s proposals are exactly what football needs. I’m only too aware of the dangers that exist. We’ve seen the collapse of Bury and the spectre of the ESL. Football is integral to our communities.
“The game needs a reboot. I back the need for an independent regulator, for an Owners and Directors Test that is fit for purpose, and most importantly the protection of the heritage and traditions of our clubs.”