Reform of the game we love is long overdue. There is cross-party consensus on the need to reform football with commitments from successive Sports Ministers, multiple Select Committee reports and recommendations of All Party Parliamentary Groups recognising this necessity.
Football has been given multiple chances but cannot reform itself due to the inherent internal conflicts of interest. No-one wants Government to run football but it is clear we do need legislation to kickstart reform and bring good governance to our national sport.
That is why we need you now before Thursday to lobby your local candidates to ensure reform is high on the agenda. Take part in VoteFootball campaign now!
In particular, the VoteFootball campaign needs supporters in the following areas to use the VoteFootball website to get the message into the constituency candidates:
- Birmingham Hall Green
- Coventry North East
- Coventry South
- Stoke On Trent North
- Walsall North
- Walsall South
What is VoteFootball?
Key to this process is to reform the governance of our Clubs so that in the event of a conflict Directors are required to look after the interests of “the Club” and the wider game before the narrow financial interests of shareholders and other stakeholders. The FA as the governing body of the game may also need to be given wider powers and responsibilities by legislation.
While many Clubs may remain private assets there need be no detrimental effect from these proposals on any owner unless they intend to act against the best interests of the Club or the Game. A useful parallel is with that of a Listed Building. Individuals can own them but certain legal restrictions on what an owner can do are in place to protect these buildings for future generations.
At the top of the game football has enjoyed huge increases in revenue in recent years. But at all levels we’ve also seen some owners dump huge debts onto clubs, asset strip clubs (including home grounds being sold off and clubs relocated or left homeless) and reckless spending, all of which risks the future existence of century old cultural institutions. Since 1992 we’ve seen 52 of the top 92 clubs suffer insolvency events.
Football clubs require special protection. That is why we call them clubs not companies. This wasrecognised by the FA as far back as 1899 at the point when they allowed Football Clubs to reconstitute themselves as Limited Companies. The FA realised there was a need to ensure clubs did not lose sight of their wider community responsibilities and become like any other commercial entity serving only the interests of the owners.
However the FA failed to enforce their rule when it was challenged in 1983 (by Spurs) and later removed it altogether thus leaving football clubs subject simply to Company Law like any other commercial enterprise.
Walk the Talk
In 2011 the then Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said football was “without a shadow of doubt” the “worst governed sport in the UK”.
We have had multiple Parliamentary inquiries and reports and successive Governments have warned that legislation will be imposed if football does not reform itself. And yet we’re no further forward because football, quite simply, cannot reform itself due to inherent conflicts of interest.
Action is long overdue and whoever forms the next Government needs to legislate.
Take part in VoteFootball campaign now and lobby your candidates!