MPs issue football's governors a warning
Published 29/01/2013 | 00:10
English football's authorities have been given an ultimatum by MPs to make further changes or face possible legislation - with a warning that financial reforms in particular have been "hugely disappointing".
The culture, media and sport select committee said the leagues - especially the Premier League - wielded too much influence over the Football Association. The committee's follow-up report into football governance said it has been "very disappointed" by the football authorities' response to its proposals for reform made in July 2011.
Committee chairman John Whittingdale said: "While some progress has been achieved, much greater reform in football is needed to make the game inclusive, sustainable and driven from the grass-roots, where it should be."
The proposals made in July 2011 included shaking up how the FA operates and making clubs adhere to financial rules, regulated by a licensing system, to prevent financial risk-taking.
Whittingdale added: "The proposals for reform so far simply don't address the fundamental problems: the licensing model, the way supporters are engaged at club level and the membership of the main (FA) board, which is not fully representative or able to balance interests adequately.
"In addition, the financial proposals were hugely disappointing: the financial risk-taking by clubs is a threat to the sustainability of football as a family and community-orientated game, which it should be.
"This is a central issue which must be addressed and real solutions - and the will to make the necessary changes - have been glaringly absent from the proposals so far.
"We recommend that the DCMS make it clear to the football authorities that further progress on these issues is expected within 12 months. If football cannot reform itself, the Government should introduce legislation as soon as practically possible."
In a joint statement, the FA, Premier League and Football League insisted the necessary reforms would be implemented. It said: "The football authorities continue to work towards the final approval and implementation of the governance reform proposals as outlined in February 2012.
"Significant headway has already been made on many of these proposed reforms, not least on sustainability and transparency. The remaining reform proposals are the subject of consultation within the game and we are confident that the necessary progress will be made."