Liverpool fans staged a well publicized walkout in the 77th minute of the club's eventual 2-2 draw to Sunderland in protest of the new pricing scheme set to go into effect for the 2016/17 season. Thousands of fans left the stadium early, leaving the club to announce on Sunday that it would consider a review of the new prices in the wake of the protest.
Though the protest made the club sit up and take notice of the severity of the issue, fixing the league-wide problem of escalating ticket prices and diminishing stadium atmosphere isn't something Liverpool fans can do on their own. Some might hope that fans at other clubs will follow the Scouse example and stage their own protests, but sometimes it takes people in more powerful places to enact change.
Enter John Pugh, Member of Parliament of the Southport constituency and the sole Liberal Democrat among Merseyside's fourteen Labour MPs.
Tabled an EDM in support #LFC supporters walkout. Other MPs signing-keep up pressure.— John Pugh MP (@johnpughmp) February 8, 2016
For non-Parliamentary nerds, an EDM is an Early Day Motion. EDMs "are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons [… and] allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause." Unfortunately, by the government's own admission, most EDMs are not actually debated in the House. A quick scan of the current open EDMs includes such gems as Multiplication Tables, Curry House Closures, and The Hypothesised Relationship Between Bovine Tuberculosis and Meles Meles (European Badger).
That most EDMs seem to exist to acknowledge achievements of great import to the British people — there are not one but two open EDMs dedicated to Jamie Vardy's goal scoring streak earlier this season — that doesn't mean a more serious motion can't gain traction amongst MPs. Tackling a corporate entity as large as the Premier League is a daunting task for any one group of supporters let alone the combined efforts of supporters groups across the nation, but the government has in the past intervened in matters of great importance in football.
The likelihood of the current government taking any steps to intervene in the way the Premier League and its clubs do business seems negligible at best, but Pugh's EDM does illustrate that there are those willing to take up the cause at a higher level. For football fans who are unhappy with the state of their clubs and their league, a parliamentary approach might be one avenue worth considering.
The full text of Pugh's EDM is as follows:
“This house supports the protests made by Liverpool Football Club supporters in response to ticket prices showing little regard to, or respect for, the club's loyal fanbase, recognises that football clubs are not simply large businesses intent on maximising shareholder value but are part of the life and soul of their community and urges honourable members to seek further engagement with all stakeholders including supporters groups across the land to see what can be done to prevent professional football outcomes being entirely determined by money and economic interest.”