I beg to move,
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.
A former Minister said when addressing the subject of FA reform:
“We are making progress, albeit slowly.”
That was Denis Howell speaking in 1969 in a debate on the Chester report, commissioned in 1966, which looked at the governance of football in England. Since that time, there have been numerous reviews of the governance and necessary reform of the Football Association. There was the Burns review of 2005. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee published two football governance reports, one in 2011 and another in 2013, setting out a series of detailed measures where we believed that the governance of football needed to dramatically improve. A former sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, said that he was going to prepare a Bill to legislate to reform the Football Association if it refused to deliver the necessary reforms. He described football as the “worst-governed” sport in Britain.
The Government are consulting on their sports governance code, which will apply to all national governing bodies of sport. This debate falls a few weeks before the talks between the Government and the FA will conclude. Some people may therefore suggest that this debate is a few weeks early; others may say that it is 50 years too late. We have been talking about this issue for a very long time.
Some people have questioned whether it is the responsibility of Parliament to seek to legislate on a private matter like football and sport, but I think it is the right of the national Parliament of this country to take a view on the administration and welfare of our national game, as we have sought to do, because this a matter that the people we represent care greatly about.