CLUB owners were labelled “as impotent as a room of eunuchs” yesterday as MPs urged the government to step in and take control away from “incapable” bodies such as the Football Association and the Premier League.
Politicians from all three major parties called for action from sports minister Hugh Robertson, who is holding a consultation on club ownership over the next six months.
“You have no doubt discovered by now that those at the top of football are as impotent as a room of eunuchs, that financially they have regimes which would make bankers blush and that with the greedy footballers and parasitic agents, the game is being ruined,” Liberal Democrat Bob Russell told Robertson during Commons question time.
“With that in mind, and noting that the game is incapable of self-regulation, isn’t it time that this government held a Royal Commission or some other inquiry because the game cannot self-regulate itself?”
Robertson said there was “no one silver bullet” for all the ills related to ownership, adding: “There is very clearly across this House a will to see this situation sorted. We all accept the current situation is not satisfactory.”
Labour’s Tony Lloyd pointed the finger at the Premier League and the FA for Liverpool’s ownership wrangle that eventually saw Tom Hicks and George Gillett forced to sell by the High Court earlier this month.
Lloyd said: “The regulating bodies frankly are now beyond redemption. Yes, consult by all means, but will you make sure that you will bring to order the regulatory bodies and make sure there is proper regulation that serves the interest of the sport?”
Conservative Lee Scott, meanwhile, questioned foriegn takeovers, saying some owners were “not fit to be running the football club and are just asset-stripping it”.