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FA to reject government support

By Gordon Farquhar
BBC sports news correspondent

David Bernstein
Bernstein was appointed as FA chairman in January

The Football Association is to tell MPs that there is no need for the government to be directly involved in running the game.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's inquiry into football governance starts on Tuesday.

The FA is among the growing list of those called to account in person, but has published its response to the committee's key questions in advance.

The organisation is adamant that political intervention is unjustified.

Sports minister Hugh Robertson has described football as the "worst governed" sport in Britain, while Prime Minister David Cameron described the process by which England lost out in its bid to host the 2018 World Cup as "murky".

MPs will begin their hearings with cross examination of two influential figures in the FA's recent past: Lord Triesman, their former Chairman, and Lord Burns, whose 2005 recommendations into the way the FA is run are yet to be fully implemented by the organisation.

But at the prospect of political involvement, the FA states that it is "unclear on what basis such intervention might be justified," and warns that such action in other countries have led to restrictions on those international teams.

The FA's response begins by claiming professional clubs differ from other businesses, and in the interests of supporters, need to be governed by a unique and limited regulatory approach.

Challenged by the committee on whether it is fit for purpose as an organisation, the FA points to the complex multi-layered structure where Fifa sets the laws of the game and the FA is delegated to implement those laws domestically, in conjunction with the leagues.

It refers to the large number of changes introduced to ensure the rules are appropriate, and claims many, "haven't filtered into the public consciousness," and that the inquiry "may prove beneficial in this regard."

However, it concedes that it may have to take a more proactive approach in the future to balance football's traditionally reactive, pragmatic approach to changes in the game.


On the question of debt in professional football, the FA says it is their belief that, "the aggregate level of debt funding in itself is not necessarily a problem that needs addressing".

However, the FA admits that it is keen to ensure that any funding of clubs reliant on "non-football generated" income should not be tied to undue financial risk that may threaten the financial stability of the club and the integrity of the competitions.

Several continental clubs, including Spanish giants Barcelona, are run through a system of mass membership which give fans a say in decisions.

While the FA says it believes supporter trusts have a role to play, it adds that they are no guarantee of financial stability.

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see also
Bernstein appointed FA chairman
25 Jan 11 |  Football
Breakaway from Fifa 'impractical' - FA
05 Dec 10 |  Football
Anson floats Fifa reform proposal
04 Dec 10 |  Football
FA chief to quit in Fifa protest
04 Dec 10 |  Football
England 2018 bid 'sunk by media'
03 Dec 10 |  Football
England bid boss fumes at voting
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football
England miss out in 2018 Cup vote
02 Dec 10 |  Football

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