Sport (Wolfenden Committee's Report)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th April 1961.

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Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath 12:00 am, 28th April 1961

I am glad that the Minister agrees. I am not blaming the Government for it, but it is a serious matter for the country. One reason for the better position in other countries is that their vast stadiums are provided by the municipalities, and the clubs pay only a nominal rent and are also allowed fabulous amounts of money to attract players and to develop.

An economic crisis faces football in this country. It may be that we need to adjust our ideas in many ways, but, although we should not have Government interference, a Sports Council would be uniquely placed to examine the situation and to find a solution.

I have taken more time than I had intended, but those of us in this House who enjoy sport and the company of sportsmen will continue to prod until we get better results out of the Government than we seem to be getting now. It is a great tribute to Haynes and to Fulham that they have sacrificed their self-interest in order to put Britain first, which is what they have done this week.

All of us in the House, irrespective of party, want to put Britain first in sport. I am satisfied from my own personal observation on the football field, and in other sports, that our young people are good enough to take a worthy place in international sport. It is up to us to allow them the opportunity to develop their talents. I welcome the Motion and warmly support the Wolfenden Report, which I hope the Government will accept. If they do not accept it, many of us will return to this matter on other occasions.