Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Football worst-governed sport: MP

MPs have been told that football is the worst-governed sport in the country

Football is the worst-governed sport in the UK, MPs have been told.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson said the game was in need of urgent reform but the Government would wait to see the contents of a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report before taking action.

Changes were due to be announced in January but will be published by May after discussions with football clubs and the sport's governing bodies, the minister added.

Mr Robertson said: "Issues of football governance need attention and need action, and that is precisely why the select committee has responded to levels of anxiety across the House and announced their investigation.

"If you look across sport, it is very clear to me that football is the worst-governed sport in this country, without a shadow of a doubt. The levels of corporate governance that apply to football, a point often addressed by (Labour), lag far behind other sports, and other sports are by no means beacons in this regard.

"So, action is needed and the Government will take it, but it wants to see the results of that select committee first."

Mr Robertson said he "acknowledged" the part fans could play in running clubs but added that there were many different types of football ownership which made it difficult to impose a "one-size fits all" set of improvements upon teams.

His comments followed a question from Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, who told the Commons: "Premier League footballers are vastly overpaid, Premier League clubs are hugely in debt, our national football team is, in many ways, a disgrace.

"Meanwhile, in the real world with clubs like Kettering Town FC, they are struggling to provide suitable ground facilities despite massive fan support.

"Would you agree with me that football in this country at the moment faces an unsustainable future unless the issues of governance are properly sorted out?"

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