Friday, 9 March 2012

The issues the football authorities won't address

So finally, we now get to see "football's response" to the government's call for the game to reform itself.

What a damp squib.

You can see the "response" here, page after page of moving blazers around committees and no action. It's a depressing document more concerned with preserving the status quo than looking at the real issues; debt and financial mismanagement, ownership, ticket prices etc.

Debt, the cancer that kills clubs and costs fans gets one mention. Actually it doesn't, the word "debt" appears as in "debt of thanks". Thanks for nothing.

Crucially, the authorities have chosen to ignore government suggestions on supporter involvement and leveraged buyouts.

Why is there no response to this (from the Government response to the select committee)?

30. The Government notes the evidence before the Committee on the use of leveraged buyouts to purchase football clubs and the strong view of the Committee on the appropriateness of this vehicle. The Government expects that the issue of financial sustainability should be addressed as part of the recommendations on the new licensing model. 
and why is there nothing at all in the document on supporter involvement in clubs as suggested by the government here (my emphasis)?

38. The Government supports the Committee’s recommendation about effective consultation with fans. The Government believes that every club should have a dedicated and mandatory supporter liaison officer. Furthermore, that every club should officially recognise the relevant supporters groups or trusts and keep an open dialogue with them. They should hold official and regular annual general meetings at which these groups are invited to take part and at which appropriate financial and other information can be shared and consulted upon. 
39. The Government believes that these conditions should be an explicit condition of the football licensing model recommended by the Committee and so compliance should be a requirement of the club competing within the English game.
40. Furthermore, the Government urges the football authorities to consider ways to actively encourage and incentivise methods of including supporter representatives on the Boards of clubs. We see the value in the views of many supporters that such representatives should have a full role within the club Board. At the same time, we acknowledge that this may not be the right solution for all clubs or all supporters. Where there are ways of achieving this role in an advisory capacity that do not attract fiduciary responsibilities that could create conflicts of interest, then we urge the football authorities to also consider this route. Whatever the way that representation is achieved, we believe that there is every reason to think that clubs are stronger because they have supporters at the heart of the club, not weaker. 
41. One option that we have considered is to specify within the new club licensing system a trigger point that would require clubs to make a seat available to one or more supporters’ representatives on the Board. Such a trigger point could be the next time the club changes hands; the point at which the officially recognised supporters organisations reach a certain size; or by a majority vote of eligible supporters. There will be other options as well.
The whole document smacks of complacency and an unwillingness to change.

Hugh Robertson should scrawl "not good enough, try again" on it in big red letters and send it back to Wembley and Gloucester Place.



Kanonier said...

On the danger of being sent to the stake but which right should the FA or the government for that instance have to regulate professional football? The football clubs are private enterprises, often founded as such. Of course their are are lot of problems and the problem of us football fans is being emotionally attached to the "product" so we can not really go away if we don't like it. But nevertheless the regulation has to come from within the professional game and not from an organization which neither has to burden the commercial risks nor has the democratic legitimation to regulate anything. And which is not able to keep their own business on track (Wembley, Referees, Manager for the national side and education of mangers [Uefa Pro License] just to mention some).
Like your work anyway! An Arsenal Fan.

Anonymous said...

Why is it you see debt as the biggest problem? Surely, with the largest clubs having total value around £1bn, it's fair enough, just like other normal businesses, for a fraction of that to be funded with debt? Are you looking at this from just a ManU point of view?

Surely the biggest mismanagement problem is clubs spending more than their revenue?

Matt said...

@ Anonymous:

Whilst financial mismanagement, most notably clubs spending more than revenue, is definitely a big issue in the lives of football clubs, the fact of the matter still remains that debt is the biggest problem. This is due to the fact that while clubs can be in debt, financial mismanagement leads to further debt regardless - without first removing or addressing the initial debt, clubs will simply be adding more of a burden on themselves.

Take for example Valencia FC, who initially had debt and continued to spend beyond their means - the debt continued to grow as a result (I acknowledge that there are mitigating factors there as well, such as incorrect budgeting after winning La Liga and the UEFA Cup under Benitez, high levels of spending, the managerial merry-go-round, etc...)

Big Swift said...

Morning Anders,

Would I be correct in thinking that Chelsea's progression to the next round is financially beneficial to United ?

Dawleylad said...

There is far too much money involed in top flight football for it to be reformed.


Anonymous said...

On a different note , Yahoo Sports on March 14th had an article called " Tampa Bays Surprising Spending Spree : Fans Look " . Like many others , I wonder where the money for that suddenly came from... Chris. NZ

Anonymous said...

@anonymous at 04:43

NFL teams are wildly lucrative, and the buccaneers have been run on one of the tightest budgets for years (thus allowing the Glazers to pocket tidy profits).

Prior to last season, the NFL owners and players came to a new agreement on the salary cap. The players traded a smaller salary cap for a requirement that the owners spend up to, or very close to, the salary cap.

This salary floor meant that the Bucs had to go on a spending spree this off season. Unfortunately, they've over-paid for old players, so I'm still going to be forced to watch the equivalent of Wolverhampton (dysfunctional, questionable defense, no offense, clueless coach) this fall.

It is amusing that both the buccaneers fans and united fans think that they're team is being used as a cash cow to support the other, when the money from both is clearly just going into the Glazer's pockets.

Dave in Florida

Anonymous said...

"and why is there nothing at all in the document on supporter involvement in clubs as suggested by the government here (my emphasis)?"

Am I missing something here? Pages 11,12 and 13 seem to directly address these issues.

Dawleylad said...

There is far too much money in football for any sort of reform.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Can you, please, just explain where the market pool money comes from (do the english tv station pay more, so that's why the english clubs get more, or how is it done)?


Anonymous said...

Hi. Can you, please, just explain where the market pool money comes from (do the english tv station pay more, so that's why english clubs get more money, or is it something else)? Thx

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