On Saturday Stella was delighted to join campaigners at the 2012 AGM (Fans’ Parliament) of the Football Supporters’ Federation, where the following motion was debated and passed overwhelmingly:
Fans’ Parliament 2012 calls upon the football authorities across England and Wales to prohibit the promotion through football of ‘payday’ and other short-term loan companies until such time as there is tighter regulation of this industry and a cap on interest rates has been applied.
The motion was only one vote away from being passed unanimously.
Almost all delegates at the AGM were wearing lapel badges showing a referee holding up a red card, with the caption ‘Show Wonga the Red Card’, reflecting the strong feelings held by many football fans about the controversial activities of the firms in the growing payday loans industry and their adverse effects on vulnerable sections of UK society.
The Football League confirmed on 18 June that any commercial relationship with Wonga.com has concluded with the end of the 2011/12 season.
This followed a three month campaign after 25 fans of 18 clubs wrote a letter to the Guardian, which led to a flood of activity on social media, in the press and on the radio.
At the moment Wonga.com still sponsors the shirts of Blackpool FC and Heart of Midlothian.
‘It was great to join all the campaigners at the Football Supporters Federation who spoke up to send such a resounding message to the legal loan sharks. Their message to Football clubs and the Football Association is clear – until this industry is properly regulated their sponsorship money is not welcome in the game. The Football League have already ended their relationship with Wonga – I hope the clubs and the FA will not ignore the views of fans and will send the message that this industry needs to be regulated so that it stops causing misery and debt. Above all this campaign shows that even if the Government won’t listen, we can still take action to protect British consumers – I hope they too will listen to the 300,000 fans who want to show Wonga the red card.’
Pictured: Stella with campaigners John Flanagan and Bob Ward, Tom Greatrex MP, and the FSF committee