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Government warns the FA must be reformed

Wed 12th Oct 2011 | Football Governance

The Government has today laid out a stark warning to the FA in its response to the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (CMS) Select Committee’s inquiry into football governance.

Laying out what it believes is necessary for the long term future of football in England, they have given the Football Association (FA) until March 2012 to implement sweeping changes to the way the sport is run or face the threat of government intervention.

A deadline of 29 February has been set for the Football Association to overhaul its board and bring in a new licensing system for clubs.

In the document released today, it read. “The Government believes that the immediate priorities are three-fold: the creation of a modern, accountable and representative FA Board; agreement to the implementation of a licensing framework administered by the Football Association in close cooperation with the professional game; and agreement to changes to the decision-making structures within the Football Association, specifically in relation to the Council.

“We expect the football authorities to work together to agree proposals, including plans for implementation, by 29 February 2012. The new Board can then agree the way forward for the remainder of the recommendations, ideally for implementation for the start of the 2012-13 football season.”

Speaking of the government’s response Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson said, "[Football's] governance has failed to keep up with the modern game."

"I believe there are improvements that can be made. [But] I do not want government to run football, so this is an opportunity for the football family to work together to benefit the game in the long term."

Backing the CMS Committee’s call for an overhaul of the FA board the report stated, “Government agrees with the Committee’s recommendation that there needs to be further change in the overall composition of the Board to allow it to function as effectively as possible.

“The Government recognises the strong views put forward by all parties on this issue, but believes that the recommendation for a Board of no more than ten, with Chairman, General Secretary, two further FA executives that bring wider football expertise, two independent non-executives and two each from the professional and national game offers a potential way forward.

The FA Board is currently made up of FA Chairman David Bernstein, General Secretary Alex Horne and five representatives from the professional game (the Premier League and Football League) and five from the national game (the county FAs).

The Government’s recommendation will see the board comprise of Bernstein, Horne, two more FA executives, two independent directors, two from the leagues and two from the counties.

Also in their response, the Government called for a new licensing system to be put in place to help tighten controls over football’s finances.

“We agree with the Committee that the licensing model should be imposed consistently throughout English football to underpin the self-regulation already introduced by the Leagues.

“The licence should cover all competitions and all leagues. The Government is clear that it does not expect that the Football League or Premier League rulebooks will be superseded. The day-to-day detail and administration of those rulebooks should remain with the Leagues, but within the framework of the licence provided through the Football Association.”

The Government will now wait for the football authorities to react by implementing the changes.

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