Justin Tomlinson

Justin Tomlinson

North Swindon

Swindon Advertiser Column - Independent Football Regulator Will Put Fans At The Heart Of Football

Earlier this week the Football Governance Bill was put before Parliament, which will see the creation of an Independent Football Regulator. As a huge football fan, this is an important issue for me – and I know this will also be a topic of great importance to Swindon Town fans, who have been greatly affected by irresponsible ownership.

Under the Bill, new owners and directors will face stronger tests to stop clubs falling into the wrong hands and face the possibility of being removed and struck off from owning football clubs if they are found to be unsuitable.

There are also basic requirements for clubs to engage with fans ahead of on key off-field decisions, such as club heritage and the club’s strategic direction. This follows the failed attempt to establish a European Super League, which received very vocal opposition from fans of the clubs involved and across the wider football world.

I have worked closely with many organisations, including the Premier League, EFL, FA, Rob Angus the former CEO of STFC and Government Ministers on this matter. More importantly, I worked with Trust STFC, who have been an important voice for the fans. I am hugely grateful for their input, which helped shape the legislation.

Football clubs are nothing without their fans, so it is vital they are at the heart of any decisions. Football clubs are also hugely important to their fans and wider communities, and we simply must ensure their long-term sustainability.

My Work Experience Programme kicked-off this week, as I welcomed students from Highworth Warneford School to the Community Office.

Every year we welcome a huge mixture of students from different schools, and it is always interesting to bring them together and hear their different views and opinions - we certainly have some lively debates! Throughout the week the students complete a variety of tasks which aim to help them understand the role of an MP and how they represent their constituents, as well as tasks to engage their critical thinking skills. I work very closely with schools from across Swindon, including Highworth Warneford, Nova Hreod, Braydon Forest – who use the programme for their work experience placements.

The programme runs throughout the summer, and we are always looking for students aged 14-15 to take part. So, if you have a passion for politics and would like to take part, or know someone who would, then please do get in touch!

Yesterday was World Down’s Syndrome Day, which advocates for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome. In Swindon, we have Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group, led by the brilliant Kim West. The group do amazing work to champion and support people in Swindon with Down’s Syndrome. I am very pleased to support the group and have welcomed them to my office a number of times.

Finally, I enjoyed a visit to the DHL (M&S distribution) Centre in the South Marston Industrial Estate to meet with senior site staff.

It was very interesting to learn more about the background of DHL, their business model, and plans for future growth. We also had an opportunity to discuss a variety of issues including: environmental improvements, new technology (including their electric HGVs), potential for site expansion, and local corporate social responsibility projects.

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