Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Exclusive: The FA blueprint for reform killed by the Premier League

Giving evidence to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport ("DCMS") Select Committee this morning, Lord Triesman, the first independent Chairman of the FA, revealed how FA proposals to reform football had been killed by the Premier League in 2009. Triesman described how carefully considered proposals for the FA to regulate finance, debt, licensing, supporter ownership and other key areas across the English game were killed by representatives of the professional game, led by the Premier League "in two minutes" with no discussion.

Lord Triesman has been supplied with a copy of those proposals by someone inside the FA and gave them to the Committee. The Committee will at some point publish them, but in the meantime thanks to key supporters of reform within the FA, I publish them here for the first time.

These proposals, that were never properly debated, aim to restore the FA's historical role as regulator of English football and to tackle issues of key concern. This is not a revolutionary blueprint, but a well thought out set of ideas to bring sanity to the sport. They were killed by financial interests within the game.

I suggest interested readers compare them to the FA's head in the sand submission to the DCMS Committee (available here). The contrast is stark and damning.

Key proposals of the May 2009 document
On finance:

On debt (note review of the idea of debt limits):

On encouraging supporter ownership following insolvency:

On reforming the "Football Creditors" rule:

On the "Fit and Proper Persons Test":

Why were the Premier League so keen to kill this measured and reasonable document?

Why won't the clubs allow the FA to regulate the game (Triesman called the current regulatory system "outsourced" to the leagues)?

Time to put this right.



fattmatt said...

Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed and the Souring of British Football by Tom Bower.
It sums up why the chairmen will not agree to change.

steven said...

The one striking observation that I would completely back to the hilt is that football is not entirely a business. It's neither a business nor a public service. It falls somewhere in between. I don't hold out much hope that here will be sufficient reform but the campaign for stronger governance must continue.
If some good can come from this current campaign then things like the G&G should be treated as a benchmark rather than dismissed as nonsensical ramblings of left wing activists.

Geoff said...

It used to be a principle of the game that income was shared - simply because each match involved two teams. That principle - which is the driving force behind all American sport, the vast majority of which is profitable - ensured that English clubs were profitable and viable.

The people responsible for changing this were the self styled Big 5 led by ManU who forced through the change in income sharing so that each team kept all the Home revenue. this obviously massively benefitted ManU at the expense of all other clubs - their income rose some 35% that year with corresponding falls depending on ground size for the rest - my club, West Ham dropped 37%.

This was the beginning of the rot. ManU then led the breakaway to form the PL - again using blackmail as before, the threat to join a European Super League. ManU's rise has followed the resulting income line 100% since then. they have outspent everybody, except Chelsea in the Abramovich years, and as the PL Transfer records show they have led the spending ever since - 15 of the top 50 transfers are ManU, similarly Chelsea.

The solution is simple. Bring back Income Sharing and share TV income down the divisions on the same formula that used to apply. Then pass the same ownership rules as the Bundeliga with automatic relegation if you become insolvent.

English football will become solvent and we will all comply with FIFA Fair Play rules. ManU will hate it of course, maybe Chelsea too, but so what. We would have been much better off if the so called Big% had buggered off to a European league 15 years ago - they would have come crawling back begging to be let in.

Anonymous said...

'who forced through the change in income sharing so that each team kept all the Home revenue'

Not quite true. As far as I know 'income sharing' has never been part of the financial make-up of English football for League matches. During the days of the old Division 1 each home team kept its gate receipts. I believe this has been the case since the end of WWll.
However with FA Cup matches the gate receipts are split 3 ways - a third each going to the two clubs and the FA.
If people are upset about the nature of income distribution in football then they should be happy with the division of the TV money amongst the clubs that's regulated by the EPL/FA, and be thankful they don't support a minor club in La Liga where such clubs are really being ripped-off.

andersred said...

Anonymous @ 4.08
Actuallly you're wrong about gate sharing in the league. It was abolished in 1983.


Anonymous said...

In response to Geoff, I would point out that "ManU" at the time of the FAPL formation, was a plc and led by Martin Edwards, who had been actively exploring ways to exploit United's position as best supported team in the land. He tried to sell to Robert Maxwell, then Michael Knighton. This all took place, if you recall, when United were not one of the top clubs(and indeed was so long ago that Liverpool were still winning titles!).

United, or rather those who have owned and run the club, have certainly played their part in making football the monster it is today, but at least they did it with money the club self-generated. Not something that could be said for Chelsea or Manchester City. (Or Real Madrid. Allegedly.)

Anonymous said...

Sharing the gate receipts sounds great till you scrutinise it. West ham have averaged about 25,000 since the war and have done nothing to increase that figure such as reinvest in the team or develop the stadium.
Their directors would love to be able to turn up at places like St James' park,Emirates, Anfield, Old Trafford & take 50% of their gate money, who wouldn't its cost them nothing.
"You give me half of your £1,000,000 & I'll give you half of my £250,000" Is that fair?
How about if teams could sell their own TV rights? say Man Utd v West Ham Utd, United fans would buy from Uniteds broadcaster (we presume) but what if West Ham put out a better package and everyone bought of West Hams broadcaster, thats called competition.

Anonymous said...

It would seem as if the FA would like to treat football and the business of football quite differently form any other business and this from an organization who cannot run themselves.

Triesman is hardly in a position to now take cheap shots at the FA. The main problem is there seems to be some sort of idea that football is not a business. Try telling the CEO's, COO's, CFO's accountants, directors and staff of a football club. Try telling that to the bankers and businessmen and women who fund football and pay £50 million for a player. Football is a business in every sense of the word and should be treated the same as every business. The FA is the one that should reform and get its fingers out of the revenue cookie jar allowing smaller clubs access to much needed funds. Why pay some useless chairman million only for them to do noting of note about anything. LOOK to the FA first not the clubs.