Government ready to enforce football overhaul

KEY changes to the way English football is run will be in place by the start of next season – even if it means government having to enforce them, MPs believe.

The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee is waiting on the Cabinet’s response to six major recommendations made in its July report. It has argued that all clubs should be licensed on an annual basis, as part of measures designed to ensure they are run solvently and transparently.

The report also insists the Football Association be overhauled and that the so-called Fit and Proper Person ownership rules are tightened.

Conservative MP Damian Collins, a member of the select committee and campaigner for better governance in the game, said he had received assurances from Sport Minister Hugh Robertson. “The minister was very clear that there would be legislation if there wasn’t action,” Collins told City A.M. yesterday at the Future of the Governance of English Football conference in London.

“The government will give its response, I imagine around the end of this month, and then throw the challenge down to the football authorities to respond. And if they don’t, then they will say ‘We will introduce change by legislation’. That’s what the minister was very clear on.

“What is crucial is that there is a timetable behind it as well. We have go to be clear the football authorities have to respond within a limited period of time. I think setting an objective of having changes in place by the start of the 2012-13 season would be a target to aim for.”

Therese Coffey MP, also a member of the select committee, added: “Clubs will just have to live with the changes.”