MPs Give Football Execs 12 Months To Implement "Radical" Reforms Or Face Legislation
Football execs were given a 12-month deadline "to implement radical corporate governance reforms" by a select committee of MPs who said that fans "had a right to know who owned their clubs," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. The committee threatened "statutory regulation" if its demand was not met. The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee issued its ultimatum at the "culmination of a wide-ranging inquiry into the way the game is run that has dragged on for more than two years." In its 93-page report, a response to joint proposals for change put forward by the Premier League, the Football League and the FA nearly a year ago, the cross-party committee "reserved its strongest criticism for a lack of engagement with supporters and a failure to control clubs taking financial risks." The report called on the government "to set up a working group of experts by the start of next season to help remove barriers to supporter ownership." This would include practical approaches to raising capital, buying shares and defending against compulsory purchase orders of their minority stakes. It also said that the Premier League and Football League had a “duty” to provide the identities of the owners of their clubs to the FA, which in turn should make the information public. The report states, "We remain unconvinced that the ultimate owners of football clubs require their anonymity to be preserved either from or by the football authorities. The current situation, which denies fans the right to know who owns their club, is highly unsatisfactory.” (LONDON TIMES, 1/29).