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Football Governance

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

What assessment she has made of the adequacy of the rules for the governance of football.

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

It is the responsibility of the football authorities to govern the sport and provide assurances to fans that proper protections are in place. We welcome the EFL’s financial and sustainability review, and stand ready to support and feed into it as appropriate.

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

Football clubs are not just economic, or even sporting, entities: they are, as we have seen in the sad case of Bury, often the heart of their communities and of key significance in the lives of individual fans, without whom they are nothing. So would the Minister support legislating to give fans a right to be represented in boardrooms, to gain more influence over their clubs?

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I thank the hon. Gentleman very much indeed for his question. I should have said that my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport, Media and Creative Industries is sorry not to be here; he has given apologies, I think, both to your office, Mr Speaker, and to Opposition Front Benchers. He is overseas on departmental business.

I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of local football clubs and their place in the community, and the importance of bringing people together. We are obviously open to dialogue and we know how strongly fans feel about their investment in their clubs. We want to see how the EFL review goes and whether in fact there are wider questions to be asked too.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party

Further to the question asked by my hon. Friend Jeff Smith, the Premier League clubs and the Football Association have been resisting the idea of a supporter being elected to the board of football clubs for a very long time. Why should the EFL review be any different?

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

We have seen what happened to Bury and very nearly happened to Bolton over the summer, and we know how strongly people feel about this. We need to let that EFL review happen, but it might be that there are some wider questions that we should be asking too.