Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

MPs demand overhaul for football

Football Association

MPs have called for a major overhaul of the way English football is run to ensure the game's long-term future in the face of rising levels of debt and financial instability.

In a hard-hitting report, the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee branded the current Football Association Council as not "fit for purpose" and said it was in need of a radical restructuring.

It called for the establishment of a formal licensing system for clubs to help curb the game's "excesses" with "robust" ownership rules and a "strong fit and proper persons test".

The MPs demanded an end to insolvency rules which encouraged "excessive financial risk-taking" and which, the committee said, would be "illegal" in any other area of business.

The committee warned that if the game was not prepared to put its own house in order, the Government should step in to do so, if necessary by legislation.

"As a last resort, in the absence of substantive progress, we recommend that the Government consider introducing legislation to require the FA to implement the necessary governance reforms in line with its duties as a governing body," it said.

The committee said that while it believed the FA was the right body to lead change in the game, it needed "urgent reform" if it was to do so effectively.

It called for a "streamlined" FA board with a membership of 10 and a review of the composition of the FA Council, with members serving for no more than 10 years.

"The principle that the FA Council should act as the parliament of football is a good one. However, the FA Council as currently constructed is not fit for this purpose," it said.

The committee expressed concern at the extent to which clubs were "making losses and operating on the edge of viability" with "escalating wages" driving up the levels of debt.

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