AS the punishing football, rugby and now General Election seasons draw to a climax, sports-related policies feature in all the campaigns.
Labour undoubtedly has the most to say when it comes to sport. In particular, the party has repeated many of its 2015 manifesto pledges by focusing on putting in place stricter controls on how sports clubs, leagues and event organisers operate.
A Labour government, for example, would "give football supporters the opportunity to have a greater say in how their clubs are run" by legislating for supporters' trusts to appoint at least two directors to a club's board and allow each trust to purchase shares if the club is sold.
However, the typical club ownership structures don't easily lend themselves to this type of collective ownership and any requirement on private companies to cede ownership and control would be an unprecedented step in a sporting and business context. It would also present substantial legal hurdles to implement.
Another Labour commitment is to force the Premier League to divert at least 5% of its broadcast revenues into the grassroots game. Again, this has not been without controversy. Not only is the Premier League adamant that it already meets this self-imposed target, the likely losers of any additional enforced investment could be HMRC and ordinary fans; HMRC may suffer lower tax receipts (from a decline in wages) and ordinary fans may face higher ticket prices (to compensate the clubs for the lost revenues). Yet given the financial difficulties that several clubs face and the importance of sports in promoting healthy lifestyles, many feel that the principle that those with the most should do more is sound.
This article was originally published in City A.M.