Andy Burnham & Fair Game Urge Football Governance Bill Amendment

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and Fair Game, a group of professional football clubs campaigning to improve football governance, have joined forces to call for an urgent amendment to the Football Governance Bill to protect FA Cup replays.



The English Premier League and the Football Association agreed a deal that would see all men’s FA Cup replays scrapped from the first round onwards, and end a vital source of funds for clubs, and the dreams of fans up and down the country.


It is a move that has been universally condemned by Burnham, Fair Game, and to date, over 100 clubs in the football pyramid.


Fair Game believes The Football Governance Bill, which has its second reading today (23rd April), should include an amendment that if implemented would ensure any changes to the FA Cup must be supported by a majority of eligible clubs.


Andy Burnham and Niall Couper, the CEO of Fair Game, have sent a joint letter to the Secretary of State, Lucy Frazer MP, and her shadow Thangam Debbonaire MP, on the issue.


The letter says:

“We know that many clubs in the lower leagues are battling to survive and these changes, if they were to proceed, would make that struggle even harder.


“In Greater Manchester, many historic names – including Bolton Wanderers, Bury, Oldham Athletic, Rochdale, Stockport County and Wigan Athletic – have all been plunged into crisis in recent years.


“Events of this season have led to rising concern amongst supporters at all levels that the football authorities are running the game in the interests of the few and not the many. Similar to the implementation of Profit & Sustainability Rules in the Premier League, these changes raise concerns about a lack of transparency, consistency and fairness on the part of the football authorities.


“If the new regulator is to be effective, it must be given powers to act to secure the health of the whole football pyramid.”


Niall Couper, Fair Game CEO, said: “At Fair Game, our clubs have been emailing, calling and texting in universal disgust.


“This short-sighted and misguided decision is not about the hard-working community football clubs. It is not about the wishes of the fans. And it is not about the romance and magic of the FA Cup.


“This is all about the elite clubs protecting their own narrow self-interest.


“The move is yet another example why football needs a strong and independent regulator that can ensure the financial future of our game.


“Scrapping men’s FA Cup replays from the first-round proper deprives lower league clubs of a much-needed source of revenue. It does nothing to strengthen the game and is another nail in the coffin for the already crumbling football pyramid.


“It is now up to our politicians to act and strengthen the incoming Football Governance Bill so that it delivers on its No 1 objective: to protect the financial sustainability of the pyramid.”





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