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Parliament announce inquiry into football governance

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The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has today announced it is launching a new inquiry into the governance of professional football clubs.

The committee claims it is responding not only to high-profile cases at Liverpool and Manchester United but also “to broader concerns that current and future generations of football supporters…are ill-served by current football club regulations”.

The coalition agreement includes an undertaking to encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters, and an inquiry will consider the case for strategic Government intervention in the administration of professional football clubs.

In so doing it will look at the scope for enhancing supporter involvement in decision-making processes and consider whether current regulatory processes – including fit and proper persons tests – are adequate.

FSF chair Malcolm Clarke: “We welcome this inquiry, there are many issues in football that need addressing and we look forward to presenting them to the committee.”

In its release the committee announced a number of key questions to be considered, including:

  • Should football clubs in the UK be treated differently from other commercial organisations?
  • Are football governance rules in England and Wales, and the governing bodies which set and apply them, fit for purpose?
  • Is there too much debt in the professional game?
  • What are the pros and cons of the Supporter Trust share-holding model?
  • Is Government intervention justified and, if so, what form should it take?
  • Are there lessons to be learned from football governance models across the UK and abroad, and from governance models in other sports?

Committee chair John Whittingdale MP said: “The Government has said that it will encourage the reform of football governance rules to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters, and there is widespread concern that the current governance arrangements are not fit-for-purpose.

“Our inquiry will look at the case for strategic Government intervention and improved self-regulation and will consider models which involve supporters more in how clubs are run. We are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties, including fans, as well as the clubs themselves and their own regulatory bodies.”

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