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Exclusive: Tory Minister Slammed For Charging People To Ask Him About Football Shake-Up

Manchester Utd fans protest against the club's owners, the Glazer family, at Old Trafford
Manchester Utd fans protest against the club's owners, the Glazer family, at Old Trafford

Manchester Utd fans protest against the club's owners, the Glazer family, at Old Trafford

A Tory minister has been criticised for charging people to ask him questions about a major shake-up to the way football is run.

Sports minister Stuart Andrew will unveil plans for a new regulator to oversee the sport on Thursday.

He will also hold an online Q&A that evening - but only those who “chip in” with a donation of up to £500 to the Conservatives can take part.

Labour said the Tories should “should get on with delivering the white paper - not fundraising for their party in decline”.

The new football regulator is set to be the main plank of the government white paper on how the sport is run in the UK.

Its aim is to prevent clubs going out of business after being bought by unscrupulous owners.

The shake-up follows a review of football governance by former sports minister Tracey Crouch.

An email from Andrew to Tory members, seen by HuffPost UK, says: “The English Premier League is one of the most watched sports leagues in the world, and English football supports over 100,000 jobs in hospitality, broadcasting and sports science.

“But our clubs aren’t just sporting institutions. They’re not just businesses.

“They’re the bedrock of communities up and down our country - bringing people together of all backgrounds and all walks of life in support of their local team.

“But events over the past few years demonstrate that football club owners often make decisions that are not in the best interest of fans or their local communities.

“And after the collapse of the widely condemned European Super League two years ago, it’s only right that government acts to protect the beautiful game.

“We’ve got a big announcement on Thursday and I want you to be there to hear more about it.

“Simply chip in any amount to join an online Q+A where I’ll be outlining the government’s plans to ensure football remains one of our greatest cultural exports.

“We’re only able to deliver thanks to the help of generous supporters such as yourself.

“So, will you join me on Thursday?”

Recipients who click on the link in the email are taken to a page which invites them to “chip in” up to £500 to the Tories to ask a question.

Email recipients are urged to donate up to £500
Email recipients are urged to donate up to £500

Email recipients are urged to donate up to £500

A Labour source said: “After 15 months of owner chaos in the Premier League, clubs like Derby County and Oldham Athletic facing the brink, and no say at all for fans, the government should get on with delivering the white paper - not fundraising for their party in decline.”

Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell said: “Rather than getting football regulation over the line, the Tories are trying to line their own pockets on the backs of football supporters.”

A Conservative spokesperson said: “This government is delivering the much-needed reform to all tiers of professional English football and protecting the fans of today and tomorrow with the most ambitious and far-reaching measures yet.

“This government is delivering the much-needed reform to all tiers of professional English football and protecting the fans of today and tomorrow with the most ambitious and far-reaching measures yet.

“All the Labour Party have offered on this matter is parroted Conservative lines, duplicated government policies and unfunded promises.”

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