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Football Clubs

October 6, 2008

Question written on 06/10/2008

I appreciate that the Minister is a hard-working and committed football fan, but I think that his sense that football can get on and regulate itself is somewhat far from the mark. There is great concern that football needs to get its house in order, particularly given the amount of public money that has gone into the game over the past decade and a half and the fact that we also wish to host the World cup. Those are real concerns that he touched on earlier. Will he ensure that he works closely with his erstwhile colleague, Lord Triesman, who now has an important role in the Football Association, to ensure that more is done and that the high-profile concerns about the football industry are brought to book?

Answered by Gerry Sutcliffe MP

I understand that it is the hon. Gentleman’s birthday, so I wish him a happy birthday. We have to consider the key issues, and it is quite interesting to hear from Conservative Members suggestions that we look at more regulation. We have to take the key issues into consideration, and first of all the international bodies?FIFA and UEFA?will play a role.
We have to appreciate that some work has been done. That done by the conference on early warning systems and financial difficulties has been an important step forward. We want to see transparency, and perhaps we need to look again at the fit and proper persons test. Clearly, the matter has to be the responsibility of football, but we will do what we can to ensure that the concerns of supporters are addressed. The hon. Gentleman will know that the FA has an independent chair as a result of the Burns report, and so movement has clearly taken place.