Grassroots Football CLP Motion

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Labour Football are committed to ensuring the Labour Party takes a leading role in helping to support grassroots football across the country. One of our key members is leading the charge to get CLPs to adopt a motion on the topic.

Tony Roome, a member of Labour Football, Leyton Orient supporter and an active member of the Football Supporters’ Federation, has drafted the following motion on Grassroots Football which we encourage Labour Party members to table to their own CLPs.

Grassroots Football 

This Labour Party notes:

  • the re-emergence of Labour Football, a campaigning group aimed at keeping what’s best for football and supporters in Labour thinking and the public eye, and currently focusing on grassroots football and the next two World Cups
  • the tremendous importance of grassroots football to many young people: boys and girls, men and women, and its clear contribution to the health and cohesion of our communities
  • the deterioration of facilities (training and changing facilities, standard of pitches etc) being brought about by the current Government’s cuts programme
  • the significant increase in cost of hiring pitches and associated facilities etc (where they exist)
  • the reduction in school training space caused by schools selling off land to fund other developments in the absence of more appropriate funding
  • the failure of the Premier League to keep to its promise of providing 5% of its television income to grassroots football

Consequently we resolve:

  • to highlight the problems faced by grassroots football in our media statements and campaigns, emphasising that the problem is caused by underfunding from central government and our determination to address the problem;
  • to encourage the Council to address the issues facing grassroots football, both through identifying funding opportunities and by establishing innovative funding methods (including building and developing relationships with senior football clubs, commercial organisations etc) in order to underpin the provision of decent training and changing facilities and the provision of good standard artificial and natural pitches at a price within the means of our communities;
  • to bring together local grassroots football clubs, along with other relevant community and campaigning groups, in our area, in order that we can discuss with them how best we can support grassroots football.

If you have any questions about the motion, please contact us on labourfootball@gmail.com. Please get in touch if you have tabled this motion to your CLP.

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Statement on Labour Football Chair

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Andrew Pope has stepped down as Chair of Labour Football after leaving the Labour Group on Southampton City Council last week. Oliver Deed, Secretary of Labour Football will act as Chair until the AGM in the summer.

On stepping down Andrew said:

“I am very disappointed to step down as Chair of Labour Football. Whilst I still remain a member of the Labour Party, I feel it is in the best interests of the group that I step down. I have worked hard to build Labour Football, having co-founded the organisation in 2012. I am proud of the work we have done under my chairmanship. 

I have led national campaigns on the Living Wage at all professional clubs and more power for fans. I will continue that fight moving forward with a new organisation – the Campaign for Reform in Football.  

I would like to thank Secretary Oliver Deed, all members of the Board and all supporters of Labour Football. I look forward to us working together once more.”

Oliver Deed, Acting Chair, said;

“I deeply regret that Andrew has decided to step down as Chair but I think he has made the right decision for the good of Labour Football. Andrew did a terrific job as Chair and achieved a great deal including on our campaign to get clubs to pay a Living Wage. Labour Football will now look to build on that work during the course of the next Parliament and beyond.”

Fan Ownership Pledge

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We are publishing a list of all Labour candidates who have confirmed that they will back measures to increase fan ownership within football during the next Parliament. We are in the process of contacting all Labour candidates. If you have been in touch with your Labour candidate and they have confirmed they back measures to increase fan ownership, please get in touch by emailing labourfootball@gmail.com.

1: Andrew Pope, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for New Forest East and Chair of Labour Friends of Football.

2: Joan Ryan, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Enfield North.

3: Sarah Jones, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon Central.

4: Catherine West, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green.

5: Sarah Sackman, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Finchley and Golders Green.

6: Alan Whitehead, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Test.

7: Keir Starmer, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras.

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Statement on Premier League Living Wage

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We have welcomed the 20 Premier League clubs’ announcement on the living wage. Andrew Pope, our Chair, said today:

“What a difference a month makes! Last month they were telling us there was no agreed line they gave to clubs, that clubs were not “charities” and did not want to be seen as “campaigning tools”.

Now they are communicating for the clubs an agreed line to pay the Living Wage, but sadly, not yet.

And not for all directly-employed staff, full-time, part-time or zero hours.

And not for contractors, partners and suppliers such as catering staff at grounds or training facilities.”

We are used to helping organisations who are learning about the living wage to reduce their concerns and ease them through the process.

On seeking clarification with the Premier League Director of Communication, he says the Living Wage was for permanent and not full-time as they originally stated.

Clubs we’ve dealt with directly include Southampton, Everton and Manchester City – all clubs that have declared intent on the Living Wage.

We started our campaign a year ago.

There is a long way to go yet.

We look forward to continue our campaigning for the living wage at all 100+ professional clubs in the English Premier League and Football League and the Scottish Premier League.

Labour Friends of Football Persuades Saints to Consider Living Wage

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Councillor Andrew Pope announced today in the Southampton City Council Chamber that Southampton FC has written to him, as Labour’s New Forest East PPC and Chair of Labour Friends of Football’s living wage campaign. In their e-mail, Saints’ Head of HR Michelle McCrindle states:

“We are currently in the process of reviewing our pay structure in terms of the living wage and it is being discussed at Board level. We will be taking this review very seriously and hope to have a conclusion before our new financial year on 1st July 2015.
“We hope this clarifies our actions, to date, in terms of the Living Wage.”

Andrew Pope responded:

“This is excellent news. I started this national campaign a year ago, and sadly Southampton FC ignored me and the Southern Daily Echo.

“I pursued them further, via letters, e-mails, phone calls and social media in a campaign helped nationally by the Mirror, and locally by the Daily Echo. I pointed out that it was outrageous to pay players tens of thousands a week, but to pay the minimum wage to ticket office assistants, and below the living wage for other jobs like waiters and porters.

“Thankfully my persistence and behind-the-scenes diplomacy paid off! Saints have listened.

“I have offered to meet with the Board, to provide guidance on what the living wage means (a minimum of £7.85 per hour to all staff), and to advise them on Labour’s tax incentive for companies signing up to pay the living wage, if we win power in May.

“I am very proud that Southampton City Council, where I am a Redbridge councillor, is now paying the living wage. It is leading by example on a manifesto pledge to encourage other local employers to sign up.

“Football clubs, like councils, should show a good example to other employers, so I hope Southampton FC will introduce the living wage following its review. Chelsea and West Ham are other Premier League clubs that have signed up, following Labour Friends of Football’s campaigning. So far, all the others have not, but I have been in discussions with other Premier League clubs who are close to bringing it in.
“I’d like to thank the Mirror, the Echo, my fellow Hampshire parliamentary candidates who joined the campaign and my colleagues at Labour Friends of Football. We believe that football can be better.”

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Leader of the Labour Party Backs Our Living Wage Campaign

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Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Labour Party, has backed our campaigning in two articles in national newspapers, in The Guardian and in The Independent .

Ed has commented on the Premier League, as have our campaign colleagues David Lammy MP and Frank Field MP. We welcome this, as generally they are the clubs spending the most on players pay.

But as Labour Football followers will be aware, our campaign has gone for ALL professional clubs in the English Premier League, English Football League, Scottish Premier League and selected clubs in the second tier of Scottish football.

We will be using the fact that Luton, Hearts, Celtic and Chelsea have made public announcements on the living wage.

We know from our campaigning that other clubs are actively considering it.

We ask them to follow the examples of these other clubs and get in touch with us.
And we ask you to join with us in our campaign!

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Chelsea First Premier League Living Wage Club

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We are quoted in the Mirror piece above on Chelsea becoming the first Premier League club to pay the living wage.

This follows our campaigning for the living wage at all 92 Premier and Football League clubs.

Our Chair, Andrew Pope, reacted by saying:

“Chelsea Football Club is showing leadership to all clubs in the Premier League. It is demonstrating to local people and people across the UK, and to supporters and members of the club, that it cares about its employees’ standard of living.

“Their programme below shows how proud the Chelsea Supporters Trust members were at the news.
“We have said before that there is a groundswell of support by football fans and the public for football clubs to show that they care about local peoples standard of living. The living wage helps people live in a cost of living crisis.”

“Labour Friends of Football looks forward to Chelsea and other Premier League clubs taking further steps on addressing the cost of living crisis. I know that other clubs are looking at the living wage, because I and colleagues are in dialogue with them.

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