Tuesday, 10 July 2012

My reply to Hugh Robertson MP about football governance

Yesterday I received a reply from Hugh Robertson MP about football governance, you can find this on yesterdays blog post. Here is my follow up letter. I shall publish any reply I get in response to this.

I've also recorded an interview with Free Radio on this issue which should air in the next day or so.

Dear Hugh

Thank you for the response that I received on the 9th July, it was much appreciated.

My correspondence with you and your department is of keen interest at the moment to Coventry City fans in particular, and they feel it’s about time that they saw real action from the Government and football authorities in terms of who owns parts of the English game.

The English Premier League and football league is revered worldwide, but there is a distinct fear that if action isn’t taken swiftly, that we will see the disappearance of a major football club because stringent rules and regulations have not been put into place.

In my previous letter I spoke about the cost of poor ownership to bodies such as HMRC. I was disappointed that you did not touch upon this in your own letter, and have since contacted HMRC to request information on how much football clubs are costing Her Majesties Revenue and Customs.

In terms of your recommendations and challenges to the football authorities, this can only be welcomed by the football fans. However, recommendations do not seem strong enough for something which is such a huge issue.

You also state that you believe that it is for the football authorities to determine the best way to achieve the right changes. I sadly believe that this is something that the Government has got wrong entirely. Without the Government pushing these proposals and enforcing legislation, change will not happen quickly enough to prevent potential disasters.

I worry that there is not enough urgency to address and engage this issue thoroughly. When do all parties expect the recommendations to be put into place? The new season is rapidly approaching.

It was only a few years ago that my own team, Liverpool, looked threatened with administration because of poor leadership from owners. If a club the size of Liverpool can be threatened by such an event, then it is conceivable that it could happen to anyone.

 The fantastic football writer David Conn of the Guardian had this to say about the upcoming flotation of Manchester United, “One wider point should be considered, among many. This is the most momentous event at an English club since the England team tumbled out of the European Championship. Roy Hodgson's team of triers was accompanied by the age-old call for a revolution in how we think about football, for Premier League clubs, the Football Association and the whole game to the grass roots, to pull together for the common good. Days later, English football's greatest name is being re-routed to the New York Stock Exchange via the Cayman Islands, to pay debts a US family was allowed to load on, to buy one of our great clubs in the first place. That hocking of clubs in the global marketplace has always seemed at odds with a coherent approach to building a great sport, a waste of the great opportunities the modern era is providing” (Guardian.co.uk, 4th July 2012).

How long will it be until we see a situation similar to Rangers happen in the Premier League? I fear it will not be long.

I welcome any further thoughts you have on this subject,