Wednesday 21st April 2021

The Super League is dead. Now we need to work with Government to change how English Football clubs are owned

The AST is delighted that Arsenal withdrew from the so-called Super League.

This would not have happened without an amazing groundswell of opposition to the plans from fans across the country and around the world. We thank everyone who made their voices heard, both in the Arsenal family and across the wider football community.

While we welcome Arsenal’s apology, we note that this does not come directly from Stan Kroenke. He owns 100% of Arsenal; he should take responsibility. The decision to join the Super League was his and his alone, and we believe he should have the integrity to explain in person.

When Stan Kroenke took over Arsenal he made a commitment to meet with Arsenal supporters. Not one meeting has been held in ten years. This is unacceptable.

No doubt Arsenal will have incurred considerable financial costs in helping to establish and then leaving the Super League. These costs should be borne by Stan Kroenke personally, and not by Arsenal, whose income is ultimately derived from fans.

What next?

On April 20, prior to the collapse of the Super League, the AST and other fan groups met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. We set out our complete opposition to the plans and also told him how hundreds of Arsenal supporters had their shares in the club compulsorily purchased by Kroenke. Many of these shares had been in the same families for a century and were treasured possessions, not for financial reasons but to feel part of the club. Custodians were pushed out by a franchise-loving investor.

The Prime Minister made a promise to us that he would set up a review into the ownership model of English football clubs. The AST will work with other fan groups and Arsenal supporters to submit evidence to this review, making the case for supporters to be put back at the heart of ownership structures.

It is telling that no club from Germany, where ownership is generally fan-based, endorsed this greedy power grab. Bundesliga clubs also tend to have fairer ticket pricing and other facilities such as safe standing. The English game must learn from this example.

We also welcome the support that opposition leader and Arsenal fan Sir Keir Starmer gave us and his commitment to maintain pressure on the Government to act swiftly and effectively.

We recognise the challenge that English football faces from Covid, but the way to deal with this is not a breakaway league of the so-called elite. It is by clubs working together to create competitive balance and share revenues fairly so that we have an enthralling product and an environment in which all clubs can flourish.

The AST will continue to engage with the Premier League, the FA, UEFA and other relevant bodies to make the case for reforms and policies that benefit fans.

We also remain committed to positive and constructive dialogue with Arsenal executives on a range of issues. We hope that the club will learn lessons from this week and improve how it engages with, and listens to, its lifeblood: the supporters.

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