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In July 2011, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report on Football Governance. The report focused on the game in England. It acknowledged the success of the Premier League and the Football League but also pointed out that this success had been accompanied by “financial instability and increasing levels of debt, which remains a serious problem throughout the football pyramid”. The report recommended, among other things, reform of the Football Association. The Committee said that almost all of its recommendations for reforming football governance could be achieved through agreement between the football authorities. However it also said that the Government should consider introducing legislation if substantive progress wasn’t made.

The Committee published a follow–up report (HC 509 2012-13) in January 2013. This said that the football authorities had not done enough on governance reforms and that the Government “should introduce legislation as soon as practically possible”.

In May 2013, the then Government responded to the Committee’s report and agreed on the need for legislation.

No legislation has been introduced.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is again looking at football governance:

(…) The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has repeatedly urged the football authorities to improve self-governance.

Although the Committee’s recommendations have been backed by successive Sports Ministers and progress has been promised by the FA, in practice very little has changed: the governance of football is cumbersome, and power lies with the clubs, especially in the Premier League. Real reform in relation to the ownership of clubs, transfers of players, the influence of fans, the role of agents and investment in the grassroots-amongst other issues-has stalled.

The Chair of the Committee, Damian Collins, has secured a Backbench Business debate on the governance of the Football Association.  This will take place on 9 February 2017 and will be on the following motion:

That this House has no confidence in the ability of the Football Association (FA) to comply fully with its duties as a governing body, as the current governance structures of the FA make it impossible for the organisation to reform itself; and calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals to reform the governance of the FA.

The Committee’s website includes the following comment from Mr Collins:

“The current Minister for Sport told the Committee that The FA had been given six months from publication of the Government’s guidance in October 2016 to demonstrate that it was willing to improve governance, otherwise public money would be withdrawn from The FA and distributed to football through other means.

We do not believe that The FA will comply voluntarily: it can survive easily without the Government’s contribution of money to grassroots sport, and there are powerful vested interests that refuse to accept the right of all those involved in football to play a role in the governance of the sport. We are therefore preparing a draft Bill to bring the structure of The FA, especially its Board and Council, more into line with modern company practice and the Government’s guidelines for sports bodies.”

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