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Scrutiny of football leaders shows urgence of fan-led review – MP

Influential MP and football fan Ian Mearns has written to the prime minister following the appearance of senior football figures before the House earlier this week, saying it strengthens the case for an immediate fan-led review.

Heads of the Premier League, EFL, and FA appeared before the DCMS Select Committee to answer questions about the defunct and discredited “Project Big Picture”, a fundamental restructure of English football to be led by the country’s “big six” clubs.

During the hearing, FA chairman Greg Clarke (pictured above) made a series of outdated references to black footballers and the LGBT community, forcing him to resign his position this week.

The contribution of EFL chairman Rick Parry and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters also drew criticism from MPs, and football commentators, for their role in Project Big Picture.

Now Mearns, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee for Football Supporters, has written to Boris Johnson urging him to deliver on the Government’s election manifesto pledge to hold a fan-led review of football governance.

“We have seen this week representatives of the three main bodies who currently govern football in England appear in Parliament, and the resignation of Greg Clarke as a direct result of his contribution to the DCMS Committee on Tuesday,” Mearns wrote.

“Sadly, I am no more confident following this week’s Parliamentary scrutiny that football in England is capable of self-governance. Indeed, the evidence given to committee this week goes further, in that it brings to the fore the absolute urgency for a full review of football governance at the earliest opportunity.”

Mearns also said that Clarke’s comments, along with the ongoing dispute between the Premier League and EFL, made the matter more perilous than ever. “Football governance in England requires an urgent root and branch review,” wrote Mearns.

Today in Parliament Mearns also put the question to Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council. Rees-Mogg said the Government would deliver on the manifesto commitment for a fan-led review, but did not specify when.

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