During the pandemic, the importance of fans has grown, according to a former Crystal Palace co-chairman.
Former Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Browett believes the value of supporters has increased since the coronavirus outbreak, and even more so after the European Super League debacle.
On April 18, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur announced themselves as founding members of the Super League, but withdrew within 72 hours due to fan protests and criticism from the Premier League, UEFA, FIFA, and even the British Government.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the ‘big six’ would face £25 million fines and a 30-point loss if they attempted anything similar in the future, and Browett, who is still a minority shareholder at Palace, believes the last 12 months have highlighted football’s biggest asset.
“It is not all about the sport and the actual football,” he told the PA news agency. “That is one thing that became completely evident during the lockdown when the games were played without supporters.
“It became very evident that football, particularly professional football in England, is about the supporters, the atmosphere, the emotion, and the sensation of belonging to one’s homeland.
“Some of these other club owners don’t get it, and I’m not sure how they all believed a league with no promotion or access to other clubs would be acceptable.
“How would it be acceptable, hypothetically, if Arsenal had finished 10th and Leicester had placed second, that Leicester would not be facing Real Madrid and Barcelona next season but Arsenal would? It was completely insane.”
The Super League scandal has reignited demand for, at the very least, enhanced fan engagement, with a fan-led review of football governance set to be released this summer.
It will look into creating a new regulator, changing the “fit and proper person test” for owners, and examining how to give fans a greater say in how their clubs are run, with the Bundesliga’s 50+1 Rule, which requires that more than half of every club be owned by its supporters, being a hotly debated clause.
Liverpool, on the other hand, faces Tottenham. (This is a brief piece.)