Hundreds in Sunderland back football reform debate

More than 600 football fans in Sunderland have helped trigger a Parliamentary debate over the introduction of an independent regulator for the game.

Football fans' petition
Football fans' petition

A petition, sparked by controversial plans for a European Super League in April, has been backed by more than 140,000 fans nationally, alongside a number of high-profile former players, including Gary Neville and Gary Lineker.

As of 2pm on Wednesday June 9, 184 people in the Sunderland Central Parliamentary constituency, 325 in Washington and Sunderland West and 182 in Houghton and Sunderland South had signed the petition.

The proposals call for an independent regulator in the English game by the end of the year and will be debated in Westminster on Monday, June 14.

The petition's creator said a regulator would "safeguard the game" from another Super League breakaway attempt or other efforts to "put money ahead of fans".

Fair Game, a new coalition of football clubs calling for reform of the sport's governance, said the time for an independent regulator has come.

Niall Couper, director of the organisation, said: "Some owners are playing Russian roulette with the futures of their clubs with scant regards for the communities and traditions that they are putting at risk.

"We need an independent regulator to finally sort it out and make our national game fit for purpose and something that our communities can be proud of."

A spokesman for The Football Supporters Association said: "We'd encourage everyone to contact their MP and ask that they support fans in our calls to fix football.

"Supporters want independent regulation, wealth redistribution and for the fan voice to be at the heart of all clubs."