The Wimbledon Guardian’s campaign for football justice has been heard by the Government after the issue was debated in the House of Commons yesterday.
Mitcham and Morden MP, Siobhain McDonagh, called for the debate in which she urged Parliament to support the campaign, which calls on MK Dons FC to drop the Dons from their name.
She said: “It is time for [MK Dons] to find a different way of representing their heritage in their name.
“Then the team that is known throughout football as Franchise FC, who most fans think gained its position through identity theft, would be able to carve out its own identity, and allow AFC Wimbledon to retain its.
“That would be good for Milton Keynes and remove much of the stigma associated with that club. And it would be good for the game.
“I therefore hope the Minister will commit to ensuring that the new licensing model also tackles identity theft, and urge him to back the “Drop the Dons” campaign launched earlier this month by my local newspaper, the Wimbledon Guardian, and to support my Early Day Motion on the subject.”
Ms McDonagh has also launched an Early Day Motion which calls on her fellow MPs to support our Drop the Dons campaign, which has been supported by Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, as well as former ministers Hazel Blears, Peter Bottomley and Kate Hoey.
Also at the debate, Mr Hammond said: “The key word she [Ms McDonagh] has hit on with AFC is that it is a club of the community of Merton and Wimbledon.
“The work that it does in the community, beyond its work on the football field, is to be commended.
“That is why the nickname “The Dons” needs to come back to that club, where it belongs.”
Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport and Olympics, thanked Ms McDonagh for calling for the debate and said supporters should have more say in the running and decision-making of football clubs.
Speaking on behalf of the Government, he said: “...supporters ought to be represented or consulted in the club’s decision making.
“That will help to prevent such unpopular decisions as a club’s moving miles from its traditional fan base, as was the case with Wimbledon FC.”
Mr Robertson added: “I recognise that any change in the corporate governance landscape of football ownership will be something of a cultural change.
“Given that we are trying to modernise and professionalise the governance of football, there will have to be a similar step change in the skills of supporters’ representatives.
“That will ensure that the success of AFC Wimbledon is repeated across the country and across the leagues.”