Prince William backs grassroots fans’ bid to save the ‘heart and soul’ of their clubs

By PA Media

The Duke of Cambridge met with newly appointed Dulwich Hamlet manager and former England striker Peter Crouch, along with longtime soccer fans, to discuss how the game should be played; Prince William also weighed in on fan views on the ongoing football governance review.

The Duke of Cambridge has shown his support for grassroots fans hoping to save the “heart and soul” of their clubs.

William visited Dulwich Hamlet FC to meet with their new manager, former England player and forward Peter Crouch, and longtime soccer fans to discuss how the game should be run.

After Conservative MP Tracey Crouch spoke about her fan-led independent review of the state of soccer, the Duke, who is president of the FA, asked what could be done to make things better.

Telling him that the parliamentarian had discovered that some clubs had an excellent relationship with the fans, but others that treated the fans with “disdain” and “disrespect”, he asked: “Is that also why you cannot necessarily lead? a football club as a business?

Peter Crouch and Prince William
Image: Prince William alongside Dulwich Hamlet director and former England international Peter Crouch

“Because then you lose the point, the heart, the soul and the structure of what a club is, if you are working so that finances handle everything?”

The visit came after the Duke was photographed watching his beloved Aston Villa take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, where they were beaten on penalties.

He spent over an hour at South London’s Dulwich club, famous for its loyal fans and community feeling, to hear from fans and players about the ongoing fan-led review of football governance.

Prince William at Dulwich Hamlet
Image: Prince William was shown around the facilities at Dulwich Hamle

The review, chaired by Ms Crouch, was announced in April 2021 and is intended to be a comprehensive examination of the English football system and how to make improvements.

It covers issues of governance, ownership and financial sustainability of clubs at all levels of football, as well as the controversial abandoned European Super League.

In July 2021, an interim set of conclusions and recommendations was published, and Ms Crouch wrote to then-culture secretary Oliver Dowden to recommend the introduction of a new “Independent Regulator of English Football”, with powers to block any future Super League. European.

She outlined proposals to give fans a “golden share,” giving them a veto on the sale of a team’s stadium and changes to a team’s name, crest and kit colors.

The final report will be published this fall.

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