Thursday, 21 January 2010

Politicians watch no.1

Following on from "Football authorities watch", it occurred to me that it would be useful to do the same monitoring with the key politicians who might be in a position to protect English club football.
On several occasions since 1997, the current labour government has considered a move away from the current system of "self-regulation" by the FA and Premier League to a system where a "Football Regulator" would be given statutory powers over the game.
Political regulation of football already happens in some areas (such as the legislation enforcing some of the recommendations of the Taylor Report, the ones about sitting down, not the ones about not letting all-seater stadiums be an excuse for higher ticket prices).
Even though there is already political input into some areas of the game and despite numerous reports and enquiries, the current government has always shied away from direct intervention. In my opinion, this stance is looking increasingly untenable. Self regulation has seen not only the problems at United develop over the last five years, but similar issues at Liverpool, Portsmouth, Leeds, Notts County and Chester City, to name five clubs where out of control owners have pushed their clubs close to or over the edge.
Would this government or a future one have the guts to regulate Britain's most popular sport for the good of supporters? Probably not at the moment, although something tells me that if United or Liverpool went bust the mood would change very quickly.

In the mean time, here are five politicians who should have a view on what is being done to our club:

Gerry Sutcliffe MP - Minister for Sport
John Whittingdale MP - Chairman, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee
Jeremy Hunt MP - Conservative shadow Minister for Sport
Don Foster MP - Liberal Democrat shadow Minister for Sport
Alan Keen MP - Chairman, All Party Football Group

So once again using the power of Google, here is what they've been saying about the tragedy at United and debt in football since 11th January 2010:

Sutcliffe - nothing (although he did have time to tell the House of Commons that Bradford Council made a “big mistake” in excluding Ilkley Lido from its free swimming scheme for under-16s and over-60s. So well done him).

Hunt- nothing (not even anything funny).
Foster - nothing
Keen - nothing